Widow of Tajikistan's first elected president dies in fire

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KHUJAND, Tajikistan -- The widow of Tajikistan's first elected president, Rahmon Nabiev, has died in a fire at her house in northern Tajikistan.

Relatives told RFE/RL that the 80-year-old Mariam Nabieva died from smoke inhalation on December 28 inside her home in the northern city of Khujand.

An RFE/RL correspondent in Khujand reported that homicide and arson investigators were working inside the house on December 29.

But authorities would not comment on the cause of the blaze or whether foul play was suspected while their investigation was continuing.

Rahmon Nabiev was elected as Tajikistan's president in November 1991 just two months after the Central Asian republic declared independence from the Soviet Union.

In September 1992, Nabiev stepped down from the presidency under pressure from political opponents in the midst of a devastating civil war that began in March 1992.

About 100,000 people were killed in the war, which continued until June 1997.

Nabiev died of a heart attack on April 11, 1993.

Source: RFE/RL's Tajik Service

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