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2018-11-08

Prison riot in Tajikistan leaves at least 20 dead

Caravanserai

KHUJAND, Tajikistan -- About 20 prisoners and two guards were killed in clashes at a maximum security prison in Khujand, two security sources told AFP on Thursday (November 8).

The prison in Tajikistan's second-largest city is home to prisoners serving long sentences for serious crimes including extremism and murder.

One of the sources said that "around 20 prisoners" died in clashes that also claimed the lives of two guards. The second source confirmed the number of victims and said a further six guards had been injured.

The Tajik government has yet to confirm the prison riot or the deaths.

"A riot involving dozens of prisoners occurred Wednesday [November 7] night and continued into Thursday," one of the security sources told AFP, requesting anonymity.

Another source said the riot had begun when prisoners seized "cutting objects" from a workshop in the prison.

The prison in Khujand, 300km (186 miles) north of Dushanbe, has seen jailbreaks in the past.

In 2016, a guard and a prisoner were killed after three inmates initiated a jailbreak.

At the time, the Interior Ministry said the prisoners had "planned to join the ranks of IS ['Islamic State']".

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