In Tajikistan, four foreign tourists were killed on Sunday while cycling along a road inKhatlon Province. While initially reported as a hit-and-run accident, on Monday Tajikistan’s Interior Minister Ramazon Rahimzoda said the authorities are considering a range of scenarios including accident, armed robbery, murder, and terrorism.
A video clip released by RFE/RL purportedly shows the incident, with a car appearing to strike the cyclists, turn around and run over them again. This would lend credence to the forming opinion that the incident was a deliberate attack, though there is a range of possible motives.
Two U.S. citizens, one Netherlands citizen, and one Swiss citizen were killed in the apparent attack which took place around 3:30 p.m. on a rural road 90 miles south of Dushanbe, in Danghara district.
The U.S. Embassy in Dushanbe confirmed in a Facebook post that two Americans were killed, but withheld further information due to privacy concerns. “Our condolences go out to the victims’ families, and we will continue to work with Tajik authorities in the ongoing investigation,” the statement said. On Monday, a spokesman from the embassy told Asia-Plus, a local media source, “Although the investigation into the incident is still going on, there is proof that it was a deliberate attack.”
The Dutch foreign ministry told AFP that one of the tourists killed in the incident was a 56-year-old man who was cycling in the group with his 58-year-old partner, though the ministry did not provide names.
Tajik President Emomali Rahmon extended condolences to U.S. President Donald Trump, Swiss President Alain Berset, and King of the Netherlands Willem-Alexander.
Two or three other tourists in the cycling group were injured, including at least one with a knife wound.
Police reportedly tracked the Daewoo Leganza sedan they believed was involved in the incident to the nearby village of Torbulok. The latest reports from Asia-Plus claim that three men wanted in connection with the incident have been killed by police. AFP reported that separate police accounts indicate that at least four suspects have been arrested and five killed by police. RFE/RL reports that additional suspects are wanted by the authorities, including two 19-year-old men and a 21-year-old — the Tajik Interior Ministry published photos of the wanted suspects.