Armed attackers kill four tourists in Tajikistan, Daesh claim responsibility

A Tajik frontier guard at the Afghanistan border. Four tourists, who were on a cycling holiday in Tajikistan, have been killed by armed attackers (Reuters)
Updated 30 July 2018
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Armed attackers kill four tourists in Tajikistan, Daesh claim responsibility

  • The victims were cycling a popular route in the impoverished ex-Soviet nation when they were attacked
  • Two Americans, a Dutch and a Swiss left dead after being hit by a car and subjected to a knife attack

DUSHANBE:  Four tourists traveling through Tajikistan on bicycles were killed when a driver allegedly rammed his car into them and joined his passengers in going after the cyclists with knives, US and Tajik officials said Monday.
Authorities in the ex-Soviet republic in Central Asia were considering an extremist plot among the possible motives for the attack, the country’s interior minister said. Daesh subsequently claimed responsibility for the attack.
A Daewoo sedan plowed into a group of seven foreign bicyclists about 100 kilometers (60 miles) south of the Tajik capital, Dushanbe, on Sunday, according to local police. The people in the vehicle then “exited the car and stabbed the cyclists with knives,” the US Embassy in Tajikistan said in a statement Monday.
Four of the cyclists died and three others, including a woman from Switzerland, were injured, Tajik officials said.
Two of the victims were American, one was Swiss, and another was from the Netherlands, foreign and Tajik officials said. Tajik President Emomali Rahmon sent the leaders of each country a telegram expressing condolences Monday.
Interior Minister Ramazon Rakhimzoda told reporters that one of the survivors had knife wounds and police found knives and guns with some of the suspects. He described the car crash as “an attack,” and said investigators were examining all possibilities, including a road accident, murder and terrorism.
Rakhimzoda said one suspect was killed while resisting arrest, his ministry said two suspects were killed and the US Embassy reported three. The discrepancy could not be immediately explained.
Four suspects have been detained, according to the Interior Ministry.
The State Department issued a statement Monday condemning what it called a “senseless attack” and expressing “deepest condolences” to the families of the people killed. The department said it could not provide more information about the US citizens due to “privacy concerns,” but that US officials were working closely with Tajik authorities.
Swiss Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Silvia Mueller said that while the circumstances of the crash were unclear, the Swiss government’s travel advice for Tajikistan notes there is a risk of attacks and poor road travel conditions in the Central Asian country.
“Should it turn out to have been a terrorist act, this would be recorded in the travel advice,” Mueller said.
The State Department encouraged Americans headed abroad to monitor government adviseries for updated information on where it is safe to travel.


Fire sweeps through Bangladesh slum, nine dead

Updated 17 February 2019
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Fire sweeps through Bangladesh slum, nine dead

  • Fires regularly break out in Bangladesh’s slums, where millions live in squalid living conditions

CHITTAGONG, Bangladesh: A fire tore through a slum in southern Bangladesh on Sunday killing at least 9 people and destroying hundreds of shanty homes, police said.
The blaze broke out in the port city of Chittagong at about 3.30 A.M. and raced through the district of bamboo, tin and tarpaulin homes, said local police chief Pranab Chowdhury.
“At least 470 shanties were destroyed by the fire. So far 9 people have died. They included four members of a family,” fire brigade official Hefazatul Islam said.
Fires regularly break out in Bangladesh’s slums, where millions live in squalid living conditions.
Rights groups have in the past alleged some shanty town blazes were deliberate acts of sabotage by developers seeking to free up property to construct multi-story buildings.
“We have seen fires are used as a weapon to evict poor slum dwellers and squatters from government or private property,” rights activist Nur Khan Liton said.