17 February 2005 -- A senior Chechen security official today accused rights groups of overstating the number of abductions in Chechnya in a bid to draw attention to an upcoming conference on the war-ravaged region.
Rudnik Dudaev, the chief of the pro-Moscow Chechen Security Council, made the statement to Russian news agency Interfax.
Human Rights Watch said yesterday that more than 1,000 people are believed to have been kidnapped in Chechnya in 2004. The New York-based organization estimated that an average of two people per day have been disappearing over the past several years in abductions it blamed on Chechen security forces and Russian troops.
Citing Chechen prosecutors, Dudaev said 218 people were kidnapped in Chechnya in 2004.
Dudaev claimed rights groups have been overstating abduction figures in order to win publicity for a conference on Chechnya scheduled to take place in late March.