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Emergency in Dushanbe

MOSCOW (AP, AFP) - A state of emergency was declared yesterday in Dushanbe, the embattled capital of the former Soviet Central Asian republic of Tajikistan. The decree bans virtually all public gatherings and imposes a 9pm-6am curfew.

Meanwhile, about 200,000 Tajik refugees, mostly backers of the Islamic-democratic opposition, are blockaded by government forces in the mountainous Garm region east of Dushanbe, where they could be massacred or left to die of cold or starvation, a Western diplomat said in Tashkent, capital of Uzbekistan, yesterday.

Abdumalik Abdullojanov, Prime Minister of Tajikistan's pro-Communist government which took control last month, denied the reports.