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Leader Of Local Uzbeks Missing In Tajikistan

Uzbek community leader Salim Shamsiddinov (file photo)
KHATLON, Tajikistan -- A leader of Tajikistan's ethnic Uzbeks has been missing for several days.

Officials with the Interior Affairs Department in Tajikistan's southern region of Khatlon told RFE/RL on March 17 that Salim Shamsiddinov went missing on March 16.

In May last year, Shamsiddinov, 58, a leader of ethnic Uzbeks in the Khatlon region, was severely beaten by unknown attackers.

That attack came after Shamsiddinov suggested in a series of interviews with Tajik media outlets that certain officials within the the Tajik government were pursuing "nationalistic" policies.

He had complained that ethnic Uzbeks in Khatlon have no access to education in their mother tongue.

Uzbeks are Tajikistan’s largest ethnic minority, making up more than 15 percent of the country’s population of almost 8 million.