In a public statement issued nearly a month after the riot broke out in the Vahdat high-penal colony, the Islamic State (IS) terror group claims that it was behind the deadly prison riot in Vahdat Township.

Islamic State (IS) claimed responsibility for the last month’s prison riot in Vahdat Township, in which 32 people were killed, the terror group’s online publication said on Thursday, according to Reuters.

Reuters reports that Islamic State said in its weekly Al-Nabaa newspaper on June 13 that the “attackers are of the caliphate soldiers”.  However, the terror group did not provide evidence to support its claim.

Recall, the riot took at the Vahdat penitentiary in the evening of May 19.   In a statement released the day after the disturbances, the Ministry of Justice said the trouble began with fighting among two camps of inmates.

On one side were adherents to the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan (IRPT), an opposition group that was banned in Tajikistan in 2015, and on the other hand, there were militants with the Islamic State (IS) terror group, the ministry said.

Officials said in their summary of events at the Vahdat penal colony that they believe that Behrouz Gulmurod, the son of Gulmurod Halimov, a former Tajik police colonel who achieved notoriety after defecting to become a high-ranking Islamic State commander, was responsible for instigating the violence.

The Ministry of Justice also named a person called Fakhriddin Gulov, who was convicted to 26 years in prison in 2018 for alleged involvement in preparing terror attacks in Dushanbe, as a potential ringleader. Other named suspects were Mahmadullo Sharipov and Ruhullo Hasanov, but no details were provided.

According to the statement, a group of Islamic State militants held inside the Vahdat penal colony first killed three prison guards and then they turned on other prisoners, executing five of them.  Of those, two were activists of the IRPT.

The final death count was 32.  Three prison wardens and 29 inmates.   

Several officials have been fired over the deadly prison riot in Vahdat.    

Prosecutor responsible for supervising the observance of laws in penitentiaries of Dushanbe and districts subordinate to the center, Mirzo Aminzoda was reportedly fired first.

Aminzoda had served as prosecutor responsible for supervising the observance of laws in penitentiaries of Dushanbe and districts subordinate to the center at the Prosecutor-General’s Office since May 2015.

Rustam Azizzoda has reportedly replaced Aminzoda in this position.

Besides, several wardens have been dismissed.  They have reportedly been found guilty of negligence.  

A special investigating commission comprising representatives of the Prosecutor-General’s office, the State Committee for National Security and the Interior Ministry is currently working in the Vahdat high-security penitentiary. 

The case over the Vahdat prison riot has been classified as top secret, the source added.