Fear for 200,000 Tajik refugees

(First Edition)

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

Representatives from humanitarian organisations based in Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan, estimate that 83,000 Tajiks have fled to the Garm region since civil war broke out in Tajikistan last June.

Abdumalik Abdullojanov, Prime Minister of Tajikistan's pro-Communist government, which took control in Dushanbe in December after months of civil war, denied the reports.

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