Asia

Tajikistan police fire on protesters

Map

Police in Tajikistan have opened fire on a demonstration in the eastern town of Khorog after protesters tried to storm a government building.

The demonstrators were carrying the body of rebel leader Imomnazar Imomnazarov, who was shot dead at his home on Wednesday morning.

Hundreds of people gathered to call for the withdrawal of government troops.

Last month, more than 50 people were killed in the area in clashes between government forces and local militants.

At least 17 soldiers were among the dead in the July clashes in the restive autonomous Gorno-Badakhan region, which borders Afghanistan.

The earlier bout of fighting erupted after the fatal stabbing of a senior security official in Khorog, the regional capital.

The authorities blamed a group of former warlords, who fought against the government during Tajikistan's civil war in the 1990s, for organising the attack.

Imomnazar Imumnazarov was one of four main former warlords active during the civil war, and was sought by the authorities last month on charges on drug trafficking and tobacco smuggling.

Tajikistan is Central Asia's poorest country and still bears the scars of its five-year civil war, which is thought to have left up to 60,000 people dead.

The country also shares a lengthy border with Afghanistan is a key supply route for Nato forces in Afghanistan.

More on this story