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Tajik troops shoot at protesters, witnesses say

Hundreds gathered in front of a regional headquarters to demand an explanation for the death of a local leader, residents say. Analysts believe the government of Tajikistan has launched a crackdown on former warlords.

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In this handout picture taken July 26, people gather to bury victims of fighting in the town of Khorog, capital of the autonomous region of Gorno-Badakhshan in Tajikistan.

Reuters

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Tajikistan government troops opened fire Wednesday on a crowd protesting the unexplained killing of an influential local leader in an eastern town, local residents say.

Witnesses say two people were reportedly injured after hundreds gathered in front of Khorog regional headquarters to demand an explanation for the overnight death of Imumnazar Imumnazarov, a former warlord during the country's civil war in the 1990s.

No comment from authorities

Authorities would not comment on the incident when contacted by The Associated Press. While organized crime is known to be rife in remote areas of Tajikistan, many analysts believe the government has launched a crackdown on former warlords as a pretext for stamping its authority on areas of the country not entirely under its control.

The renewed instability in the remote Gorno-Badakhshan autonomous province, which shares a long border with Afghanistan, comes weeks after armed clashes between troops and local armed groups left around 50 people dead.

Danger of further conflict appeared to have been forestalled earlier this month by armed groups agreeing to hand over hundreds of weapons.

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