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Two More Tajik Suspects In Deadly Stockholm Attack Reportedly Detained In Syria

The two Tajiks contacted Rahmat Akilov, who is imprisoned for killing five people when he intentionally drove a truck through a pedestrian zone in central Stockholm in 2017.

Two more Tajik men -- described by Swedish police as "terrorist contacts" in a deadly attack in Stockholm two years ago -- are reportedly being held in custody in Syria.

The men, known by the aliases Kori Usmon and Abu Ayub Kulobi, according to Swedish police, were in contact with Rahmat Akilov, who is imprisoned for killing five people when he intentionally drove a truck through a pedestrian zone in central Stockholm in 2017.

The two Tajiks contacted Akilov, an ethnic Tajik from Uzbekistan, via messaging apps like Zello and Telegram before his deadly attack that also injured 10 people.

A Stockholm district court sentenced Akilov, 41, to life in prison last year, but the identities of his alleged accomplices, with whom he had been in contact, were unknown.

Swedish police found the contacts of several people described as "terrorist-related" on the Zello and Telegram apps found on Akilov's smartphone.

On December 18, RFE/RL reported that two Tajik men believed to be involved in the attack were apparently in custody in Syria.

In a November 23 report on Islamic State (IS) fighters captured in Syria, Turkish TRT Haber TV showed a man in the custody of Syrian regime forces who appeared to be Parviz Saidrahmonov.

Saidrahmonov, who is known as Abu Davud, is wanted in Russia and Tajikistan on terrorism charges. The other man found was Tojiddin Nazarov, known as Abu Osama Noraki. Both men are 32.

Saidrahmonov is currently being held in a prison in the Syrian town of Afrin. Nazarov is being held at a different prison in Syria.

RFE/RL's Tajik Service, after an investigation with Swedish TV4, can now reveal that the two other Tajik men -- known as Usmon and Kulobi -- are also held in the same prison.

According to a Swedish police report, Usmon gave Akilov detailed instructions on how to make a bomb, and Kulobi "encouraged him" right before the attack.

The actual identities of these two men are not known to RFE/RL.

But an official at the Tajik Interior Ministry told RFE/RL on December 20 on condition of anonymity that "these two are indeed from Tajikistan: Kori Usmon is from central Tajikistan and Abu Ayub Kulobi is from the southern town of Kulyab."

He added that Tajik authorities were working "hard" to extradite to Tajikistan all those held in Syria's Afrin prison, which is currently in territory held by Turkish forces.

But officials in Stockholm want the men extradited to Sweden.

"If there are people who can clearly be linked to this terrorist act, the Swedish people expect them to be held accountable," Swedish Interior Minister Michael Damberg said. "It is quite clear that there is no statute-of-limitations period for terrorist offenses or [for those who give] assistance [to such crimes]."

The father of Ebba Akerunds, an 11-year-old girl killed in the truck rampage, has also called for the men to be extradited to Sweden.

"I expect that [the government] will do what they say, that they will bring them here to Sweden for a trial against these people," Stefan Agerberg said.