TAJIKISTAN: AT LEAST 27 DEAD IN PRISON RIOT

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DUSHANBE, Around 20 prisoners and two guards were killed in clashes at a highsecurity prison in Tajikistan's northern city of Khujand, security sources said on Thursday.

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 exSoviet country's government has yet to confirm the prison riot or

the deaths.

The violence started late on Wednesday when an inmate, believed to be a member of the Daesh militant grou[p, attacked a guard and seized his assault rifle, said an interior ministry official.

Officers restored order hours later with the help of reinforcements, a security official speaking on condition of anonymity said.

The prison in the northern Tajik city of Khujand is where prisoners convicted of religious extremism offences, including membership of Daesh, are generally held. It also houses other prisoners.

The officials said at least 25 inmates were killed along with a warder and a policeman. The third source, also a security official, said three guards had died.

Local authorities confirmed a riot had occurred but gave no details.

Khujand is about 300km north of capital Dushanbe.

In July, Daesh claimed responsibility for an attack which killed four Western tourists in Tajikistan, an impoverished Central Asian country.

In 1997, security forces had reportedly killed at least 24 people after a riot broke out in Khujand prison, according to a Human Rights Watch report. Nongovernmental sources, however, claimed that as many as 100 prisoners were killed

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK