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Tajik Forces Search For Armed Militants After Deaths

Soldiers take part in a millitary operation in Baljuvon district, Khatlon region, on December 3.
KULOB, Tajikistan -- Gunmen have killed three police and security personnel in a Tajik village south of the capital, RFE/RL's Tajik Service reports.

The armed men shot dead the security officers as they approached the village of Dulona-Maidon on December 1. The village is in the Baljuvon region, some 150 kilometers southeast of Dushanbe.

Police and security forces were sent to the village after residents told police they saw about eight "bearded gunmen in military uniforms" two days earlier. The villagers said they asked the gunmen to leave the district.

Tajik Interior Ministry spokesman Mahmadullo Asadulloev told RFE/RL the gunmen were armed with Kalashnikovs and Makarov pistols. He said no group had claimed responsibility for the three killings.

Interior Ministry and National Security Ministry troops have surrounded the village in an attempt to apprehend the gunmen.

Abdurahmon Buzmakov, the police chief of the southern Khatlon province, is commanding the search operation. He said the police thought the gunmen were still in the village.