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Tajik Authorities Apprehend Two More Armed Militants

Rasht Valley has seen a major government push in recent weeks.

Rasht Valley has seen a major government push in recent weeks.

DUSHANBE -- Tajik authorities say they have arrested two armed supporters of former warlord and special police unit head Mirzokhuja Ahmadov in the mountainous Rasht district, some 200 kilometers east of the capital, Dushanbe, RFE/RL's Tajik Service reports.

Interior Ministry spokesman Mahmadullo Asadulloev told RFE/RL that the two were detained without any resistance on September 28 and that both admitted to being active members of Ahmadov's group.

Asadulloev said that police detained many other suspected members of the group, but might release them for lack of evidence. A source close to the security ministries told RFE/RL that the detained suspected supporters of Ahmadov include one local police officer.

On September 22, the Interior Ministry said that at least five supporters of Akhmadov, who is a former opposition commander, were killed during a counterterrorism operation in the Rasht district. The ministry added that Ahmadov's house was subjected to a rocket attack and his fate is unknown.

Sources in Rasht told RFE/RL that after the attack on Ahmadov's house, another former opposition commander, Shoh Iskandarov, reportedly joined the militants.

Ahmadov told RFE/RL on September 21 that government forces began searching the homes of former United Tajik Opposition (UTO) fighters in the Rasht district after a September 19 ambush on a military convoy that killed at least 25 servicemen.

The Interior and Defense ministries say former UTO fighter Abdullo Hakimov (Mullo Abdullo) played a role in that attack.

The UTO fought in the 1992-97 civil war against the administration of President Emomali Rahmon.