Tajik rebel chief hands in weapons as truce holds | Pakistan Today

Tajik rebel chief hands in weapons as truce holds

An ex-warlord in Tajikistan blamed for the murder of a regional security chief has laid down his arms, the interior ministry said Monday, as a truce between rebels and the government appeared to hold. “The chief of an illegal armed group, Tolib Ayombekov, came in (to give up weapons) after long negotiations with the government,” said a ministry spokesman. A tense truce between Islamist rebels and the government was agreed last month following the worst internal unrest the impoverished ex-Soviet Central Asian country has seen in two years. Ayombekov’s brother, driver and two other rebels joined him in voluntarily handing in their weapons to authorities. The rebel chief also called on three other groups of insurgents in the region to lay down their arms, said the ministry. The tense ceasefire was agreed for the rugged mountain region of Badakhchan near Afghanistan — home to Islamic rebels and to criminal networks that smuggle drugs and gemstones — after dozens were killed in clashes there in July. Tajik security forces poured into Badakhchan to fight militants loyal to Ayombekob, accused of the murder of regional security chief General Abdullo Nazarov who was dragged from his car and stabbed to death.

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