DUSHANBE -- About 350 firearms have been confiscated or surrendered to the Tajik Interior Ministry so far this year under an ongoing weapons collection program, RFE/RL's Tajik Service reports.
Interior Ministry spokesperson Mahmadullo Asadulloev told RFE/RL today the arms in question were mainly Kalashnikov automatic rifles, pistols, and grenade-launchers, together with explosives from secret caches dating back to the 1992-97 civil war.
The campaign to urge people to surrender weapons was launched in December 1994. Since then, some 33,000 weapons have been handed over.
Last month, followers of former opposition commander Mirzokhuja Ahmadov surrendered their 12 guns for checking. The government wants to be sure that Ahmadov's followers were not involved in the September attack on troops in the Kamarob Gorge in the eastern Rasht district in which 26 servicemen were killed.
Some Tajiks have also given up their hunting rifles. Madismon Madumarov, 70, who lives in the northern Asht district of Sughd province, decided to surrender the rifle he has used for the past 50 years because he was told it is obsolete.
Nasrullo Jumaev from northern Ainy district of Sughd province said he surrendered a rifle he found in his old shed.
Under Tajik law, special authorization from the Interior Ministry and the state hunting association is required in order to own a hunting rifle.