Turkmenistan 'battles drug gang'

Government says traffickers "neutralised" after residents reported heavy fighting.

    In a statement on Sunday, the foreign ministry did not confirm if there had been any casualties in the fighting.

    "According to the general prosecutor's office, a group of individuals involved in illicit drug supplies has been identified as a result of law enforcement operations," the statement said, without giving further details.

    Information is strictly controlled in the former Soviet republic and state media did not report on the incident.

    Before the foreign ministry statement, Arkady Dubnov, a Moscow-based reporter for the Vremya Novostei newspaper and expert on Central Asia, told the AFP news agency that sources in Ashgabat had told him of "tanks and armoured vehicles opening fire on a drinking water factory" where an armed group was hiding.

    The US embassy in Turkmenistan warned Americans to stay away from the northern districts of the city.

    The Central Asian nation, bordering Iran and Afghanistan, has a predominantly Muslim population and large oil and gas reserves. It is used as a route for the global heroin trade.

    Al Jazeera is not responsible for the content of external websites

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Revival: The Muslim Response to the Crusades

    Revival: The Muslim Response to the Crusades

    This part of 'The Crusades: An Arab Perspective' explores the birth of the Muslim revival in the face of the Crusades.

    Going undercover as a sex worker

    Going undercover as a sex worker

    A photojournalist describes how she posed as a prostitute to follow the trade in human flesh.

    Africa is not poor, we are stealing its wealth

    Africa is not poor, we are stealing its wealth

    It's time to change the way we talk and think about Africa.