The seven foreign cyclists were run over by a man in a car and then reportedly attacked by a group of men armed with firearms and knives. A Dutch, a Swiss, and two American citizens were killed.
The Tajik government claimed several suspects died during a subsequent police raid.
The Swiss cyclist killed was identified as a 62-year old man from Zurich, named as Mario F. by Swiss daily Blick. AFP identified the Swiss cyclist as Markus Hummel. The murdered cyclist's partner, named as Swiss citizen Marianne G, 59, by Blick, was reportedly attacked by the assailants with knives and remains hospitalized with severe injuries.
The attack occurred in the Danghara district, southeast of the Tajik capital Dushanbe. The couple were completing the second stint of a 10,000 kilometre cycling trip from China to Kyrgyzstan, according to Blick.
Tajikistan's interior ministry blamed a banned opposition Islamic party for the attacks, but Islamic State(IS) released a video showing the alleged culprits claiming allegiance to its ranks.
A image taken from a video released by The Islamic State's (IS) Amaq News Agency on July 31, 2018, allegedly shows the five executors of an attack on foreign tourists on a bike tour in southern Tajikistan. Photo: Handout/AMAQ NEWS AGENCY/AFP.
Tajik President Emomali Rakhmon ordered the creation of a force tasked with “protection of public order and security (and) escort of tourists” as well as the “prevention of crime” in response to the attack, state media reported. Tajik authorities have declared 2018 to be a “year of tourism” and claim massive increases in visitor numbers.
Media sources have claimed that the Central Asian nation's government has been reluctant to disclose information about the attack or the suspects. Radio Free Europe says one of its journalists was harassed and had materials seized after interviewing members of two of the suspects' families.