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Rebel Leader Death Protests Continue in Tajikistan

RIA Novosti

16:10 23/08/2012 MOSCOW, August 23 (RIA Novosti) - Crowds of demonstrators continued to occupy the central square of the eastern Tajikistan town of Khorog on Thursday, on the second day of protests sparked by the killing of an influential local leader, Radio Liberty reported.

The protesters, gathered in front of Khorog regional headquarters, are calling for the withdrawal of government troops from the restive Gorno-Badakhan autonomous region, which shares a long border with Afghanistan.

They are also demanding an explanation of the death of Imumnazar Imumnazarov, a former rebel commander during the country's civil war in the 1990s, who was killed in a house explosion on Tuesday.

At least two people were injured as security forces opened fire on demonstrators on Wednesday.

The protesters argue Imumnazarov's killing broke a fragile truce between government forces and local militants, agreed last month after fighting in the area left around 50 people dead.

On July 24, Special Forces from the Presidential Guard, the National Security Committee, and the Interior Ministry held a special operation near Khorog against an armed group believed to be behind the murder of a top Tajik security general. Thirty members of the group were killed and 40 detained. Seventeen law-enforcement officers were killed and 40 were injured during the operation.

The 1992-1997 civil war in the impoverished former Soviet republic is estimated to have killed more than 60,000 people.

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