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IMU Leader Says Group Did Not Kill Former Tajik Minister

Tohir Yuldash (file photo)

Tohir Yuldash (file photo)

The leader of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) claims that his group was not involved in the recent killing of former Tajik Emergency Situations Minister Mirzo Ziyoev.

In an audio recording sent to RFE/RL's Tajik Service, a man claiming to be IMU leader Tohir Yuldash says that he always opposed the Tajik peace agreement of 1997 that ended the civil war in Tajikistan and led to his followers leaving the country.

Tajik officials had reported last week that Ziyoev had been arrested because of his support for armed groups suspected of involvement in terrorism and drug trafficking.

The government announced shortly afterward that Ziyoev was killed by an unknown armed group in the eastern Tavil-Dara district of Tajikistan on his way to negotiate the disarming of insurgents on July 11.

Tajik security forces have been fighting insurgents in the area for several weeks.

Pakistani sources reported that Yuldash had been injured several weeks ago in Pakistan near the border with Afghanistan.