The Interior Minister Ramazon Rahimzoda neither confirmed nor denied the use of weapons by OMON (special police unit) against participants of a protest rally that took place in Khorog, the capital of the Gorno Badakhshan Autonomous Region (GBAO), in November last year. 

Speaking at a news conference in Dushanbe, Rahimzoda on February 2 asked journalist to give specific facts and say from whom they learned about this.  

Although journalists said the GBAO civil activists had posted a video on social networks showing shooting in Khorog, the minister kept insisting that they name a specific person.  

“Organized criminal groups disseminate such information through some media outlets, but GBAO residents on contrary have asked not to take down checkpoints erected in Khorog since the start of the protests,” the minister said.  

Interior Minister Ramazon Rahimzoda

According to him, the checkpoints have bene erected to maintain public order and provide security of the people “and law enforcement officers are working to prevent law violation.”

“367 weapons were collected from the residents of the GBAO last year,” Rahimzoda added.  

A four-day demonstration took place in GBAO’s capital of Khorog in November last year.  The protests in Khorog broke out on November 25 after security forces killed a 29-yearold local man Gulbiddin Ziyobekov wanted on charges of kidnapping.  The rally participants demanded a probe into his death.

Some source say at least two people – Gulnazar Murodbekov and Tutisho Amirshoyev – were killed and fifteen others were wounded after the first day of the rally, when government forces used live fire to disperse the crowd.  Several police officers have reportedly also been injured in clashes.

The crowds that had occupied a central square in Khorog for four days dispersed on November 28.  The government has in return reportedly committed to an independent investigation into the death of Ziyobekov a local man at the hands of law enforcement officers.

Besides, an agreement was reached to refrain from seeking prosecutions for the people who threw stones at public officials.

However, the law enforcement authorities in GBAO have instituted a number of criminal proceedings.