DUSHANBE, August 13, 2012, Asia-Plus  -- The national news agency, Khovar, reports that Tolib Ayombekov, a one-time warlord suspected of involvement in the murder of the GBAO regional security chief, has surrendered to the law enforcement authorities.

The Khovar’s correspondent in Gorno-Badakhshan provincial capital, reports Tolib Ayombekov appeared on the GBAO regional TV in the evening of August 12 and stated that he and his brothers have voluntarily surrendered to the law enforcement authorities for the sake of peace and tranquility in the country.  He has reportedly called on other members of illegal armed formations to lay down weapons.

Meanwhile, the Asia-Plus’s correspondent reports from Khorog that negotiations between Tolib Ayombekov and representatives of the government forces took place in Khorog on August 12.  The negotiations were held behind closed doors, and therefore, no details of the negotiations are available.

We will recall that two of those suspected of involvement in the murder of the GBAO regional security chief Abdullo Nazarov surrendered to the local law enforcement authorities on August 10.  An official website of the Ministry of Interior (MoI) says their names are not disclosed in the interest of investigation.

Meanwhile, Radio Liberty’s Tajik Service quoted a high-ranking officer from the GBAO police directorate as saying that those who surrendered to the law enforcement authorities are the Tolib Aymobekov’s brother Oqil Ayombekov and his driver Hamza Gulnazar.

The GBAO police directorate official noted that an agreement on handing over those suspected of involvement in the murder of Major-General Abdullo Nazarov had been reached during negotiations with commanders of the GBAO armed formations that have been conducted in Khorog through intermediary of the public commission comprising local activists and religious leaders.

The clashes began in Khorog on July 24 when government forces launched a military operation against what it called “militants” following the murder of the regional security chief Abdullo Nazarov on July 21.

The authorities have blamed Tolib Ayombekov, a former warlord from the civil war, for the murder of Abdullo Nazarov.  Hundreds of troops have reportedly poured into Khorog to hunt down Ayombekov.

Tolib Ayombekov has denied the accusations and said the government is using Nazarov''s death as a pretext for cementing its grip over Gorno Badakhshan.  According to some media sources, fighting that occurred in Khorog last week has left at least 17 soldiers, 30 militants, and more than 20 civilians dead.

The authorities demand that people they consider responsible for the assassination be handed over to face justice.

It is to be noted that independent verification of events in the region is difficult because of its remote nature and spotty communications links.