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Tajikistan: At Least 20 Killed In Mudslide

Dushanbe, 7 August 2002 (RFE/RL) -- At least 20 people have been killed in eastern Tajikistan by a mudslide that struck their village overnight. An Interior Ministry official says at least 56 homes were destroyed when a mountain lake overflowed in the Gorno-Badakhshan region, sending a flood of water, mud, and stones crashing through the village of Dasht.

Emergency officials said many of the villagers were sleeping when the mudslide occurred and had no time to flee their homes. The official said emergency services were working at the scene.

In other news, six railway workers in Tajikistan were sentenced yesterday to between 13 and 22 years in prison for drug trafficking.

The presidential antidrug agency says the men were arrested in southern Russia in possession of 145 kilograms of heroin which they were allegedly hoping to smuggle to Germany. They worked for Tajikistan's railroad.

Tajikistan is a major transit point for drugs from Afghanistan destined for Russian and Western markets. Three tons of drugs from Afghanistan, including 2 tons of heroin, have been seized since the start of the year in Tajikistan.