Cyclists from Washington D.C., Jay Austin and Lauren Geoghegan, lost their lives in a terror attack in Central Asia.
The U.S. Embassy in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, took to Facebook to announce the killing of the two Americans on July 29, 2018.
Assailants rammed their car into the cyclists before attacking with knives in the Danghara district, south of Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan.
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The embassy said that they were working together with Tajik authorities in the ongoing investigation. The victims also included Rene Wokke from the Netherlands and Markus Hummel from Switzerland.
The Washington Post reported that the two cyclists were Jay Austin and Lauren Geoghegan, residents of Washington D.C. on their dream trip around the world.
The couple had decided to travel and had quit their jobs last year. They were both aged 29.
Cyclists who set out to conquer the world
Austin and Geoghegan recorded their experiences on a blog called Simple Cycling. They had revealed the reason for deciding to take on the globe on two wheels.
They believe that the “life is short and world is big…” The couple wanted to make use of their youth before it is gone.
Austin, born in New York, worked in the Department of House and Urban development for seven years, while his girlfriend worked in the school’s admission office. She had grown up in California and graduated from Georgetown in 2010.
Austin’s mother, Jeanne Santovasco, told The Washington Post that her son was “a gentle soul who cared about the world and not leaving any footprint and leaving it a better place.”
Geoghegan’s parents Robert and Elvira Geoghegan said that their daughter exuded an enthusiastic embrace of life’s opportunities during the trip. She was open to new experiences with a search for a better understanding of the world around her.
Days before they lost their lives, Austin had described the country as a “tough place to cycle” on his Instagram account, adding that his girlfriend had caught a nasty stomach bug and found it difficult to cycle because it was “cold and windy and mountainous.”
The unrest in Tajikistan
The group of seven cyclists was passing through a famous scenic region, about 60 miles from the capital. The area attracts many foreign tourists seeking adventure owing to its rugged views and its proximity to the Afghan border.
Officials at the Interior Ministry of Tajikistan have begun a search for the driver with the police killing two men who resisted arrest, according to New York Post.
The ministry said it had arrested one suspect and three others for a possible connection with the incident in which a Daewoo sedan jammed into the group which included a couple of Swiss nationals.
According to The Washington Post, the ministry also said that four men had been killed so far in connection with the attack.
The officials maintained that the attack was carried out by the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan, an opposition party which was banned three years ago.
Analysts and experts, however, disagreed with the claims and said that the attack seemed to have been carried out by ISIS.
January 14, 2019