7 October 2005 -- The Moscow-backed president of Chechnya says abductions are on the rise in the North Caucasus Russian republic.
Alu Alkhanov told a meeting of law enforcement officials in Grozny today that there were 143 reported cases of abductions in the first nine months of this year, against 128 for the same period last year.
He said the increase in the number of abductions was a matter of concern for authorities.
Human rights activists and witnesses say kidnappings and arbitrary arrests are in most cases carried out either by Russian federal troops or by members of pro-Russian Chechen armed forces.
The Russian human rights group Memorial, which has tallied abductions in Chechnya since 1999, has accused the authorities of downplaying the number of such incidents.
(ITAR-TASS/AFP)For RFE/RL's full coverage of events in the North Caucasus, see "News And Features On The North Caucasus"