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Tajik Police Kill Four Relatives Of Ex-OMON Commander Who Joined Islamic State

RFE/RL's Tajik Service July 05, 2017

DUSHANBE -- Four close relatives of a former police commander in Tajikistan who joined the Islamic State (IS) extremist group in 2015 have been killed in a clash with Tajik security forces.

Tajik police told RFE/RL that the clash occurred late on July 4 in the country's Vose district, about 25 kilometers from Tajikistan's border with Afghanistan.

A police officer in the Vose district told RFE/RL on July 5 that two brothers and two nephews of former Tajik police commander Gulmurod Halimov were killed.

That police officer said Halimov's 52-year-old brother, Sultanmurad Halimov, was among the dead.

There was no immediate confirmation on the identities of the other relatives killed in the clash.

Colonel Anvar Huseynov, a high-ranking security officer who led an operation against Halimov's relatives, reportedly received several stab wounds during the July 4 altercation.

Authorities also told RFE/RL that the bodies of Gulmurod Halimov's four relatives were transferred to morgues in the Vose district.

Officials have not disclosed full details about the operation against Halimov's relatives.

The four had not been formally charged with being members of the IS militant group.

But security officials told RFE/L that Halimov's brothers had been under surveillance in Dushanbe for some time and were followed by police after they left Tajikistan's capital earlier on July 4.

Authorities said the four were thought to be traveling to Afghanistan together with three other men.

Gulmurod Halimov, a former commander of Tajik Interior Ministry Special Forces, known as OMON, disappeared in April 2015.

In May 2015, a video of Halimov posted online showed him brandishing a sniper rifle and threatening to bring holy war to Russia and the United States.

Tajikistan has issued an international warrant for his arrest and the United States has offered $3 million for information on his whereabouts.

There have been several unconfirmed reports from both northern Iraq and Syria since 2015 that Halimov was killed while fighting for IS militants.

Tajik authorities have repeatedly rejected those reports, saying they think he is still alive.

In May, Tajik officials arrested Halimov's 18-year-old son, Behruz Halimov, on charges of trying to join his father in Syria.

Source: halimov-relatives-killed-islamic -state/28597278.html

Copyright (c) 2017. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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