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Central Asia denounces Volgograd suicide bombings
Crimes against humanity on the eve of festivities are particularly cruel, observers say.
By Nadin Bahrom, Asker Sultanov and Maksim Yeniseyev
DUSHANBE – The Central Asian general public, analysts and officials are denouncing the terrorist bombings that killed 34 people in Volgograd shortly before New Year's Day and are expressing sympathy for the victims' families.
Two Tajiks – identified as Toshpulod Nazarov and Rakhmonali Goziyev – were killed in the December 29 bombing of the main train station.
Tajik authorities January 3 repatriated their bodies.
The second attack in Volgograd came December 30, when a suicide bomber blew up a trolleybus.
"As a resident of Tashkent, I express my deep sympathy to Volgograders," Anastasiya Sergeyeva, a municipal transit police officer, said. "We also had to endure bloody terrorist acts, and we can understand [their impact]. I hope that the Russian security services will do everything possible to find and neutralise the criminals [involved], as well as take measures to prevent similar threats in the future."
In that matter, they might look at how Uzbekistan protects public transport, she said.
"For example, in our country, the first examination of everybody entering a train station happens 100-200 metres from the entrance, and passengers are examined again immediately inside the train station and before boarding the train," Sergeyeva said. "A terrorist act similar to the one in Volgograd, at the entrance to the station, with a large number of victims, is impossible in our city."
Aboard transport vehicles, Uzbekistan has signs calling for vigilance and for passengers to report suspicious activity, too, she said.
Condemnation for attacks
Khikmatullo Saifullozoda, a member of the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan's political council, condemned the terrorist acts.
"Nobody expected such explosions in Volgograd, even those authorities who are supposed to discover terrorist intent in advance," he said, adding that everybody expected problems from Chechen militants in Sochi or Moscow as the country prepares to host the Winter Olympics. "It's hard to say now whether it's the work of those [Chechen-linked] groups, but I don't rule it out."
Like many other Central Asians, he expressed his sympathy for the victims' families and called for authorities to solve the crimes.
Saifullo Safarov, an analyst from the Tajik Presidential Centre for Strategic Studies, said he was shocked by the terrorist acts just ahead of New Year's festivities.
"My reaction is one of great horror," he said. "Anybody's death for us is a blow, even more on the eve of a new year.
We've been celebrating New Year's Day with the Russians for 100 years already, and for us it's a highly esteemed holiday.
"It's difficult even to talk about it, but I'll say one thing: such terrorist acts won't break our will, and the peoples of the CIS will fight against phenomena like terrorism and drug trafficking," he said.
Call for stepped-up counter-terror efforts
The Volgograd bombings illustrate the importance of counter-terrorist work, Alikbek Jekshenkulov, a former Kyrgyz foreign minister, said.
"The tragic events in Volgograd upset all of us and left nobody unaffected," he said. "I express my condolences to the families and loved ones of those who perished. Kyrgyzstan, as a country near Afghanistan, is confronted with serious security challenges, and the problems posed by the fight against terrorism and extremism especially concern us."
The situation illustrates the need for more international co-operation in the effort to stamp out terrorism, he said.
"I propose that the activation of terrorism in all countries ... the events in Boston and Volgograd, the killings in London, and the terrorist acts in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and other countries must cause the international community to unite in fighting this universal, worldwide evil." Jekshenkulov said. "Regardless of differences in political and economic systems and national interests, we must activate [all] states in the fight against terrorism. As practice shows, no one country can fight terrorism alone."
Safarov agreed. "This is a terrorist network that needs to be uncovered; that's the work of law enforcement agencies," he said. "They have to be vigilant, and they have to do a better job than they did today [in Volgograd]."