DUSHANBE, April 15, 2011, Asia-Plus – According to a source at one of power-wielding structures, a skirmish between the government forces and unknown armed persons took place in the Boloshahr area in Rasht district on April 14.

“Three police officers and one officer from special services were killed in gunfire between the government forces and unknown militants in the Boloshahr area on April 14,” said the source.  “The militants managed to escape; a search operation is under way.”

In the meantime, another source at the country’s power-wielding structures says two officers from the power-wielding structures and eight militants were killed in the skirmish.

Reports by unofficial sources diverge from each other, while Asia-Plus has failed to get official information so far.

Sources close to the former United Tajik Opposition (UTO) filed commanders told Asia-Plus Thursday morning that the government forces have launched a special operation in the Rasht Valley to hunt down Abdullo Rahimov (Mullo Abdullo) and his followers.  Combat helicopters have reportedly been deployed in the search operation near the village of Samsoliq in Nourobod district and associates of the former UTO field commander Mirzokhouja Ahmadov are reportedly also participating in the operation.

The ministries of interior and defense, however, denied this information on Thursday as “unfounded.”

The Interior Ministry spokesman Mahmadullo Asadulloyev said that tactical exercises for units from the rapid deployed force were being conducted in Nourobod.  Faridoun Mahmadaliyev, a spokesman for the Ministry of Defense, also noted that tactical exercises, involving armored carriers, artillery and combat aviation, were being conducted for servicemen of power-wielding structures in the Rasht Valley from April 14 t o April 16.

We will recall that the government forces began a counterterrorism operation in Rasht on September 22, 2010, following a September 19 Kamarob ambush that killed at least 28 servicemen of the Ministry of Defense.  The authorities blamed the September 19 attack on the government convoy on Mullo Abdullo and Alovuddin Davlatov.  On November 9, the head of the State Committee for National Security, Saymumin Yatimov, said that the operation in Rasht was almost over.  He recalled that some 20 gunmen had been killed and some 30 others either surrendered or sided with government forces in pursuit of the militants.  The law enforcement authorities reported on January 4 that Alovuddin Davlatov and his seven confederates have been killed in a special operation in Rasht district.