Publication: Monitor Volume: 3 Issue: 119

The UN envoy in Tajikistan, Gerd-Dietrich Merrem, announced yesterday that Tajik opposition forces hold three Russian soldiers as prisoners. The opposition leadership is offering to include those Russians as a means of facilitating a reciprocal government-opposition exchange of prisoners and detainees. The government had earlier agreed to the exchange but is now stalling.

Also yesterday, a Russian officer was assassinated and an accompanying non-commissioned officer was seriously wounded in Dushanbe. The unidentified gunmen struck in the usual manner — in broad daylight with pistol shots from the back.

Meanwhile, in Hatlon region, Col. Mahmud Hudoiberdiev has again mutinied against his government, sending an armored column to break up and disarm several army posts on the Hatlon-Dushanbe highway. Hudoiberdiev demanded yesterday that the central government dismiss the regional governor and appoint his own nominee to that post. He also wants preliminary disarmament of opposition fighters who would be returning to Tajikistan from bases in Afghanistan as part of a proposed peace agreement. That tentative agreement envisages the fighters’ disarmament following their return. Last week, Hudoiberdiev’s troops seized a major chemical plant in Yavon. (Russian agencies, June 17)

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