Tajik MPs set to oust president

DUSHANBE (AP) - Anti-government militants refused to leave Tajikistan's besieged presidential palace yesterday, saying they feared that would allow President Rakhmon Nabiyev to retain power. Tajikistan's cabinet and senior MPs on Wednesday passed a resolution saying Mr Nabiyev was 'displaced from power', and scheduled a special parliamentary session for today to force his resignation.

'This session will discuss the constitutional aspects of dismissing him. We don't recognise him as president,' said Dzonibeg Akubir, a parliamentary press spokesman. The militants, some armed with automatic weapons, said they would not leave before today's session. Late on Wednesday, they freed the last of the 35 officials held hostage for up to three days.

President Nabiyev has not been seen in public this week, and his whereabouts remained unknown yesterday. Rumours persisted that he had taken refuge in a government retreat or at the Dushanbe army garrison of the Commonwealth of Independent States.

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