DUSHANBE, July 20, 2011, Asia-Plus  -- Tajik Minister of Interiors Abdurahim Qahhorov says it cannot be ruled out that militant followers of the mutinous Colonel Mahmoud Khudoiberdiyev may invade Tajikistan again.

The minister remarked this today at a news conference in Dushanbe.  According to him, 12 supporters of Colonel Mahmoud Khudoiberdiyev have been detained in Tajikistan over the first six months of this year.

“There ought not to forget that If someone betrayed his homeland once he will betray again,” Qahhorov noted.

He stressed that three terrorist acts masterminded by Khudoiberdiyev’s supporters have been prevented in Khujand this year.

“Tajik police have been on alert over the last two years, because of the threat of new attack that can be made by Khudoiberdiyev’s militant followers, the minister noted.

He added that Tajik law enforcement authorities have broken up 6 organized crime groups numbering totaling 94 members over the first half-year of 2011.  Members of these criminal groups have reportedly committed more than 1,300 crimes in Tajikistan in the far abroad countries.

“Besides, 55 members of terrorist groups have been neutralized over the report period,” said Qahhorov, “In January-June this year, Tajik law enforcement authorities have also detained 14 members of the Hizb ut-Tahrir group and 18 members of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU).”

We will recall that Colonel Mahmoud Khudoiberdiyev made two failed coup attempts in 1997 and 1998.  After the failed coup attempt made in August 1997, Khudoiberdiyev and his supporters reportedly retreated south via Shahritous and Beshkent into southern Uzbekistan.  According to some sources, after leaving Tajikistan, the mutinous colonel and his militant followers moved through Uzbekistan into Afghanistan in November 1997.  Khudoiberdiyev reportedly returned to Uzbekistan in June 1998.  On November 4 1998, Khudoiberdiyev’s armed group invaded Sughd province from Uzbekistan.  A few days later the government regained control of the province.  Some 100 people were reportedly killed in the Sughd clashes.  Tajik Prosecutor-General’s Office instituted criminal proceedings against Khudoiberdiyev under the provisions of two articles of Tajikistan’s Penal Code (high treason and coup attempt) and has repeatedly requested Uzbek authorities to extradite Khudoiberdiyev to Tajikistan.