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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Warlords Dead, Tajiks May Erupt

DUSHANBE, Tajikistan -- The government of Tajikistan ordered roads to the capital and the southern city of Kurgan-Tyube blocked on Tuesday after two warlords who returned the government to power after a bloody civil war were shot dead in a quarrel.

The deaths of the two men, Sangak Safarov, the head of the People's Front, and his semi-independent captain, Faisali Saidov, threatened to spark fighting between their followers, although no incidents were reported Tuesday.

Fearing retaliation, the government has ordered road blocks around the region controlled by the forces loyal to Saidov, whom the Tajik defense minister last week awarded the rank of colonel.

Sources inside Tajikistan's Defense Ministry said that Safarov had visited Saidov's headquarters on Monday night to complain after 300 refugees attempting to return home from Dushanbe were diverted from their village and beaten or raped.

In the course of their quarrel, at 2 A. M. , Safarov shot Saidov, whose bodyguard then shot the leader of the People's Front. Five bodyguards also died in the course of the shootout, the source said.

Although the precise circumstances of the shooting remain clouded, with some officials citing different circumstances, the incident highlights the instability of the situation in Tajikistan and the problems faced by some of the 270, 000 refugees displaced by war.

After their ordeal, the 300 refugees returned to their own village, the Turkmenistan State Farm, where they are living in the mosque.

Their houses had been burned down after they fled.