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Turkmen Army Deserters Detained

ASHGABAT -- Two Turkmen soldiers have been detained near the capital, Ashgabat, after deserting their military unit the previous day with their weapons, RFE/RL's Turkmen Service reports.

A police official who spoke on condition of anonymity told RFE/RL that the soldiers had left their military unit in Ashgabat on December 12.

All people in vehicles in the capital were subjected to strict control at checkpoints set up by security forces in Ashgabat and its suburbs until the soldiers were found.

A security official told RFE/RL that the soldiers were arrested in the district of Gokje, 10 kilometers west of Ashgabat, on December 13.

It is unclear why the soldiers went absent without leave from their military unit.

There have been several reports in recent years of conscripts leaving their units, being killed, or committing suicide because of severe hazing by more senior soldiers.