FOUR tourists were killed and another three injured on a bike tour in southern Tajikistan, in Central Asia, on Sunday when a car hit them before fleeing the scene, authorities said.

The seven cyclists included two Americans, two Dutch nationals and three other foreigners, the interior ministry told AFP, without specifying the nationalities of those who died.

However, the US embassy in Tajikistan said two of the fatalities were US citizens.

The hit-and-run accident took place in the district of Danghara, 150 kilometres south of the capital Dushanbe.

“Three foreigners were killed at the scene and another died in hospital,” the interior ministry said, adding that three other tourists had also received medical treatment.

Authorities in the Central Asian nation announced later that there had been one arrest and the deaths of two other suspects during a special operation launched to find those responsible for the deadly hit-and-run incident.

“One person has been arrested, two others resisted arrest and have been killed,” the interior ministry said, without giving further details about the suspects.

Tajikistan is the poorest of the ex-Soviet republics and has been ruled by the iron hand of President Emomali Rakhmon since 1992.

Tajikistan is surrounded by Afghanistan, China, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan.