World Bulletin / News Desk
Rebels facing off against government troops in Tajikistan's volatile east began laying down their weapons on Sunday after the authorities threatened to launch a new offensive to capture a former warlord accused of killing a local security chief.
President Inomali Rakhmon had called a ceasefire late last Tuesday after heavy fighting, promising to pardon anyone who disarmed while demanding that the rebels handed over Tolib Ayombekov, the former warlord, along with three fighters.
A senior Tajik security official told Reuters on condition of anonymity on Sunday that the rebels had started to surrender at about 0200 GMT, handing over "dozens of guns".
"We now hope that everything will end peacefully," he said.
Tajikistan's interior ministry confirmed the news in a statement, saying: "Members of illegal armed units in the Gorno-Badakhshan region have started turning in their arms ... Those laying down their weapons are immediately amnestied."
Rakhmon had sent troops into the area on Tuesday in pursuit of former opposition field commander Ayombekov, accusing him of killing Major-General Abdullo Nazarov, the head of the Gorno-Badakhshan branch of the GKNB, successor of the Soviet-era KGB, on July 21.
Officials said the heavy fighting that followed killed 17 troops, 30 rebels and one civilian, in violence that raised concerns about the stability of the majority Muslim nation.
On Saturday - after several days of talks - the authorities issued a final warning, telling the rebels they would launch a new large-scale military offensive against them unless they surrendered.
"Warlord not surrendered"
However, not all of the authorities' demands were met.
"At this stage, there is no talk about the surrender of Ayombekov and other rebels accused of killing Nazarov," the same security source told Reuters on Sunday. "Militants say they are in Afghanistan, and we also do not exclude this."
"The main thing is that this (stand-off) now ends peacefully, and we will return to Ayombekov's capture later."
After Nazarov was killed, the government sent helicopters, armoured vehicles and thousands of troops into the area.
Ayombekov, who fought against Rakhmon in a 1992-97 civil war before receiving a government job in the peace deal that ended the conflict, denied any involvement in Nazarov's killing.
Fearing possible infiltration of Taliban-linked fighters who support Ayombekov, Tajikistan closed all its border crossings with Afghanistan, only allowing trucks carrying military cargo for NATO troops there to pass.
Some analysts said that the assault - the first military operation on such a scale in almost two years - was a show of force by Rakhmon, whose control over parts of the Central Asian state remains tenuous 15 years after the end of the civil war.
Separated from Afghanistan by the Pyandzh river, Gorno-Badakhshan is an autonomous region where the authority of the central government is particularly fragile. Most of its 250,000 inhabitants sided with the opposition during the civil war.
Tajikistan is the poorest of 15 former Soviet republics. Tens of thousands died in its civil war, in which Rakhmon's Moscow-backed troops fought a loosely aligned opposition that included many Islamist fighters.
Former imperial master Russia still has 6,000 troops stationed in Tajikistan, its largest military deployment abroad.
The council of Tripoli had earlier approved the establishment of the parking lot in place of the Serail, which is bringing anger to the city.
Nemtsov, 55, was shot four times in the back near the Kremlin in central Moscow on Friday and sympathisers on Saturday placed flowers at the place where he was shot.
Palestinian faction Hamas denounced as "shocking" an Egyptian court decision to designate the movement a "terrorist organization".
Photojournalist posted image mocking army and president
President Joko Widodo rules out clemency despite Australian claims
The Ennahda leader said that it was still possible that he would not run for a new term.
Police lobbed teargas shells and used cane batons to stop demonstrators from advancing to the parliament building, leaving more than a dozen people injured, witnesses said.
Community leaders, politicians, union representatives and ordinary citizens joined the protest saying the anti-Islam Pegida UK it is “not welcome in our city”
Tsipras turned on Madrid and Lisbon, accusing them of taking a hard line in negotiations which led to the euro zone extending the bailout programme last week for four months
Nagi Abu Sabla, 21, was killed and his brother Akram,18, was wounded after an unexploded ordinance left over by Israeli forces went off in Rafah
Local official says a landmine hit the women when they went out looking for their husbands, who were local Afghan policemen.
A spokesman for the German defence ministry said Lithuania had not made an official request but the country had expressed an interest and Germany was prepared to help.
The Kremlin deflected accusations that it was to blame and Putin called for the killers to be found quickly, taking the investigation under presidential control and denouncing what he said was a "provocation"