Two Americans Killed in Hit-And-Run While Cycling in Tajikistan
Jul 31 2018
"Preliminary data indicate that this was an attack", Jeff Ridenour, spokesman for the U.S. Embassy in Dushanbe, said.
The deaths of the four people - two Americans, one Swiss and one Dutch citizen - were originally reported as a hit-and-run incident that occurred on Sunday about 150 miles south of the capital, Dushanbe.
Tajik officials said that two suspects involved in the incident were later "liquidated", according to BBC. The Swiss Foreign Ministry said a third victim of the accident was a Swiss national. A French citizen was brought in for a check up, but sustained no injuries, a Tajik health official told ABC News.
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.
The U.S. Embassy confirmed the attack with multiple sources and said that Tajikistan's ministry of internal affairs had detained one suspect and killed at least three others.
The cyclists were travelling on a road that adjoins the famous Pamir Highway, a Soviet-era road surrounded by stunning mountain scenery.
On its Facebook page, the US embassy in Dushanbe confirmed the American fatalities.
A terrorist attack is being considered as a possible motive behind the deadly ramming of foreign cyclists in Tajikistan, police have said.
"We can't say if it is an act of terror", Rahimzoda said Monday.
Tajikistan declared 2018 a "year of tourism", ABC noted, adding officials have been cautious about labeling the incident as terrorist activity. The U.S. Department of State has described Tajikistan as "an authoritarian state, and political life is dominated by President Emomali Rahmon and his supporters", saying that the government has a poor human rights record.
The Swiss authorities say they are in contact with the injured Swiss woman, her relatives and the local authorities.