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Tajikistan: Opposition Postpones Return To Dushanbe

Dushanbe, 27 August 1997 (RFE/RL) - Tajikistan's opposition postponed the return of some of its fighters to the capital Dushahbe today, saying it is not happy with the barracks provided by the government.

Itar-tass quotes opposition chief of staff Davlat Usmon as saying the building is not suitable for technical and security reasons.He added that this will likely delay a planned meeting of the joint national reconciliation commission, which was to have begun this week.

Under a recent peace accord, the joint commission was to have met to oversee the peace process and prepare for parliamentary elections. But the opposition says it will only start the talks after 500 of its fighters are stationed in Dushanbe.

In other news, Itar-tass reports that four opposition fighters were killed in clashes with government policemen in the country's Kofirnikhonsky region. No confirmation or other details were immediately available.

Said Abdulloh Nuri, leader of Tajikistan's Islamic opposition, later told RFE/RL that five opposition fighters were killed today in Kofarnikhon near Dushanbe. Nuri said the opposition fighters were shot from behind by local militiamen and had not been involved in any attack or fighting.

Nuri urged the United Nations' observers in Tajikistan to investigate the incident but said it would not damage the peace process.