DUSHANBE — An explosion ripped through a discotheque in Tajikistan's capital Dushanbe on Monday injuring seven people in the latest blast to hit the troubled ex-Soviet state, police said.
The explosion, which investigators said occurred Monday morning when an improvised explosive device detonated in the crowded disco, came days after a pair of suicide bombers killed two police in the northern city of Khujand.
"The explosion took place inside a disco during a party of young people at about 1:00 am (2000 GMT Sunday) on Monday. Seven people were wounded to varying degrees," an interior ministry spokesman told AFP.
Police are pursuing multiple theories about the blast, the spokesman said, among them the possibility that it was carried out by militant groups long active in the volatile region.
"One version is hooliganism, but others, including a terrorist attack, will be considered," he added.
Two suspects have been detained in the wake of the bombing, a police official told AFP under condition of anonymity, but no further information about them or their motives has been released.
The discotheque, named Dusti (Friendship), is located in the south of Dushanbe and had been holding weekly mixed-sex disco night mainly aimed at young men and women.
On Friday, two suicide bombers whom the government said were members of the Al Qaeda-linked Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, rammed an explosives-packed car into a police station, killing two and wounding at least 25.
That blast came after Tajikistan President Emomali Rakhmon sacked his long-time security boss following a humiliating prison break last month in which a group of 25 Al-Qaeda-linked militants escaped and killed six guards.
The escaped militants include nationals of Afghanistan and six Russian citizens, all of them natives of the volatile North Caucasus region, where Russian authorities are battling an Islamist insurgency.
The country has been on high alert since the escape, setting up checkpoints on key roads across the mountainous Central Asian state and strengthening border positions with neighbours Afghanistan, China, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan.
Police said they had captured another of the escapees Monday, following the nabbing of Ibrokhim Nasredinov, a former inmate of the US military prison at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, in a special operation last week.
Abdurasul Mirzoyev, 52, a former Rakhmon confidante sentenced to life in prison for his alleged involvement in a failed military coup, was captured during a special operation about 60 kilometres (30 miles) east of Dushanbe.
"He was not able to offer even the slightest resistance to the special forces troops," interior ministry Chief of Staff Major General Tahir Normatov told AFP.
The escapees were believed to be heading towards the rugged mountainous regions of eastern Tajikistan where many of them are from and across which they could cross into Afghanistan on foot.
Tajikistan, where a civil war between Islamist forces and backers of Rakhmon's secular government killed tens of thousands following the collapse of the Soviet Union, shares a porous 1,300-kilometre (800-mile) border with Afghanistan.
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