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Tajik Capital Tense After Leader's Threat

May 06, 1992| Christian Science Monitor

DUSHANBE, Tajikistan — Dushanbe, the normally quiet capital city of Tajikistan, tottered on the edge of large-scale violence Tuesday after the conservative government of President Rakhman Nabiyev threatened to use "Los Angeles-style force" to crush opposition demonstrators and began arming a newly formed national guard that the opposition charges is composed of "criminals."

Nabiyev is also believed to be moving heavily armed Interior Ministry troops into Dushanbe from his home city of Leninabad.

In a telephone interview from Dushanbe, Dust Muhammed Dustov, deputy chairman of the Dushanbe section of the Democratic Party of Tajikistan, charged that Nabiyev is refusing to issue firearms to the Dushanbe police or militia troops, of whose loyalty he is apparently unsure, but instead is arming a newly created national guard composed mainly of what Dustov called "petty hooligans."

Dustov said the national guard is headed by a chieftain nicknamed "Sangak," who is said to have spent 23 years in prison.

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