Media in Tajikistan have reported that numerous inmates have been killed during a riot at a high-security prison in the northern city of Khujand.
A Dushanbe-based correspondent for RIA-Novosti, a Russian news agency, cited security sources in the Sughd region as saying at least 13 prisoners were killed in the unrest, which appears to have broken out late on November 7. Other outlets have offered an even higher figure.
Authorities have been largely silent about what occurred. Prison officials have confirmed to at least one outlet that there was some kind of disturbance, but they provided no details.
RFE/RL’s Tajik service, Radio Ozodi, has obtained information about one fatality, 29-yearьold prison guard Eshon Yokubov. The broadcaster said Yokubov’s body has already been taken to his native Mastchoh district, north of Khujand, for burial.
There is no information outstanding about the possible cause for the violence, although several outlets have dwelled on the fact that the high-security prison was used to hold people convicted on charges of belonging to radical religious organizations.
Ozodi, which is routinely relied upon by Tajik authorities to filter sensitive news out to the public, cited unnamed officials as saying that Interior Ministry special forces had been deployed and quelled the riot.
“The rioters had weapons. An investigation has been initiated into this incident,” an unnamed source told Ozodi.
Another outlet, Prague-based Akhbor, relied on similarly loose sourcing to claim that more than 20 people, including two guards, had been killed. The outlet, whose reporting regularly carries information from seemingly well-positioned sources, stated that inmates attacked guards and stole their weapons.