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Thousands Occupy Tajik Square Over Violated Truce

Khorugh residents at a central square on August 22 protest reports of the Tajik authorities' killing of former rebel field commander Imomnazar Imomnazarov.
KHORUGH, Tajikistan -- Several thousand people continued to occupy a central square in Tajikistan's eastern city of Khorugh early on August 23, demanding that the government withdraw forces from the area and dismiss the region's top official.

The protest started one day earlier after a rebel field commander, who fought against the government in the Tajik civil war of the 1990s, was reported killed by unidentified assailants.

Demonstrators have alleged that the killing violated a truce between armed groups and the government that was reached last month after fighting in the Gorno-Badakhshan region left around 70 people dead.

Protesters say the continued presence of additional military forces in the area is contributing to tensions.

The demonstrators are also demanding the sacking of the top government official in Badakhshan, Kodir Kosim.

With additional reporting by Interfax and ITAR-TASS