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Tajikistan: Government Continues Hostage Negotiations

Prague, 30 October 1996 (RFE/RL) -- Tajik government officials continue today to negotiate with an armed opposition group which is holding 37 policemen hostage in the country's Komsomolobod region.

The opposition group, headed by Mirzo Nizom, has been holding the policemen hostage since the weekend. The group wants the removal of all government military checkpoints from the Komsomolobod region. Tajik Security Council Secretary Amirkul Azimov today went to the scene, where he joined a U.N. negotiator.

Also today, the leader of the United Tajik Opposition, Abdulloh Nuri, sent a letter to Tajik President Emomali Rakhmonov, renewing demands for the creation of a coalition government and the holding of multi-party elections. Nuri said that as long as the government insists on preconditioning all negotiations on the current constitution, no results can be achieved.

Tajikistan's government has been fighting an insurrection since it drove most of its democratic and Islamic foes out of the country in a 1992-93 civil war