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Tajikistan Bank Chief Kidnapped

December 2, 1998

DUSHANBE, Tajikistan (AP) _ The vice president of Tajikistan’s National Bank was kidnapped by several gunmen today in the capital of this restive Central Asian nation.

Police said the assailants, wearing military fatigues, stopped Navruz Valiyev’s car, seized him and drove away. The motive for the kidnapping was not immediately clear.

Valiyev recently ordered an increase in the minimum capital requirements for the nation’s commercial banks in a bid to protect depositors’ accounts. Several banks failed to meet the requirements and were forced to halt operations.

Valiyev was also in charge of Tajikistan’s talks with the International Monetary Fund.

Tajikistan’s economy is in shambles following a 5-year civil war between the secular government, which is backed by Russia, and the mostly Islamic opposition. A truce signed last year ended large-scale hostilities, but there are still periodic clashes.

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