Tajikistan

Tajiks to investigate civil war mass graves report

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ALMATY, April 23 (Reuters) - Tajikistan's national reconciliation body will investigate reports about graves of up to 2,600 victims of civil war allegedly uncovered in the the Central Asian republic, a commission official said on Thursday.

Deputy chairman of the National Reconciliation Commission, which comprises representatives of the government and Islamic opposition, quoted residents of a district about 40 km (25 miles) from the capital Dushanbe as saying they had found five mass graves last weekend.

Mukhiddin Kabirov, contacted by telephone in Dushanbe, told Reuters that according to local residents, the victims, buried in the graves supported the opposition in the civil war of 1992-97.

"The National Commission has received reports from local residents of the Shakhrinau region of five mass graves containing around 2,600 corpses," Kabirov said.

"There has been no investigation yet," he said, adding the commission would take up the issue shortly.

Tajikistan, a mountainous state of 5.7 million people, lost tens of thousands of people in the civil war between the Moscow-backed secular government and the Islamist opposition. Many more were driven from their homes.

Former foes signed a final peace agreement in June last year. But the fragile peace is often disturbed by warlords vying for spheres of influence and field commanders of the legalised Islamist opposition often clashing with government troops.

Reuters - Thomson Reuters Foundation
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