The Islamic State (IS) extremist group has claimed responsibility for a May 20 prison riot in Tajikistan in which 32 people were killed.
The militant group said on June 14 in its online Al-Nabaa publication that the "attackers” at the maximum-security prison about 15 kilometers east of Dushanbe were “caliphate soldiers" – a term that IS has used in the past to claim responsibility for terrorist attacks around the world.
The IS publication did not provide evidence to support its claim.
Tajikistan’s Interior Ministry said in May that out of 32 people who were killed, 17 were inmates who’d been jailed as members of the IS extremist group.
The ministry also said three members of Tajikistan’s banned opposition Islamic Renaissance Party (IRPT) were killed in the riot along with nine other inmates and three prison guards.
The IRPT said in May that Tajik authorities were concealing the truth about the May 20 riot and another deadly prison riot in November in which 21 inmates and two prison guards were killed.
It said authorities had given the public “very vague and unclear” information about both riots, leading to “questions and suspicions.”
"The IRPT holds the government fully responsible for the riots and their outcomes as its policies in recent years have been plagued by violence against political parties, activist groups, and individuals,” an IRPT statement said.