A national of Tajikistan has been arrested on suspicion of setting fire to Dushanbe’s biggest merchandise market, Korvon. The market owner has reportedly offered a reward of 150,000 somoni for detention of the arsonist.

“A national of Tajikistan has been arrested on suspicion of setting fire to Korvon bazaar in September 2012,” the Interior Minister, Ramazon Rahimzoda, told reporters in Dushanbe on February 14.      

The minister refrained from giving further details of the case “in the interests of the investigation.”  

Recall, the Prosecutor-General’s Office launched an investigation into the Korvon fire in early September 2012.  Criminal proceedings were instituted under the provisions of three articles of Tajikistan’s Penal Code: Article 192 (3) – violation of fire safety regulations; Article 322 (2) negligence; and Article 309 – sabotage.   

According to data from the Interior Ministry Main Fire Department, the arson at Korvon bazaar was committed with use of diesel oil  

The fire that broke out at Korvon bazaar in the evening of September 5, 2012 raged for 18 hours.  30 fire extinguishing units were involved into elimination of the fire.  It destroyed more than 8,000 square meters of the market.  Approximately 2,000 local vendors were without a place to hawk their goods.

One person was killed and a least four others were injured in the fire.   

The then Dushanbe Mayor Mahmadsaid Ubaidulloyev promised to launch an investigation into the cause the fire.  He also promised to restore the destroyed areas of the busy market located on the outskirts of Dushanbe within a month.

In the morning of September 6, 2012, hundreds of people walked to the center of the city and blocked road traffic. People intended to demand an answer on who is going to reimburse the damage caused by the fire at bazaar.

“I can restore outlets, but cannot reimburse the damage to the vendors,” the market owner Nourshed Mashrabov told journalists on September 6.

According to him, 2 thousand outlets damaged by the fire will be fully restored at the expense of the market administration.  Mashrabov reportedly also offered a reward of 150,000 somoni for help to find the arsonist.

Earlier, there have been several previous fires at the Korvon bazaar.