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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Tajikistan Gives Up Hunt for Sadirov

ALMATY, Kazakhstan -- The Tajik government appeared Monday to give up hope of catching maverick warlord Rizvon Sadirov, saying an operation to hunt down the armed leader was over though he remained on the run.

"Government forces along with units of the [Islamic] opposition yesterday completed their operation against Rizvon Sadirov's group," Zafar Saidov, spokesman for Tajik President Imomali Rakhmonov, said in a telephone interview from the Tajik capital Dushanbe.

"Rizvon, his wounded brother Fatkhudin and two others are still hiding in the mountains," Saidov added. He said they were located somewhere along the Krasny mountain range, 80 kilometers east of Dushanbe.

Sadirov's group, who once fought for the Islamic opposition but whose loyalties are now far from clear, took several foreigners hostage in December.

Saidov said the government and its former Islamic opposition foes had killed at least 15 of Sadirov's band during the 10-day operation and captured 24.