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Russian soldier and a burning oil well in Chechnya (fle photo) (AFP)
11 January 2006 -- Chechen rebel leaders say around 100 militants were killed fighting Russian troops and regional security forces in the North Caucasus last year.
In a statement posted on pro-independence Chechen websites, Amir Nurdin, deputy commander of one set of rebel forces, said that 43 fighters were killed or taken prisoners in Chechnya alone.
Speaking on 10 January, a Russian Interior Ministry spokesman, Vasilii Panchenkov, put the number of militants killed in 2005 in Chechnya at 290.
Ever since the second Chechen war began, both sides have accused the other of minimizing their own losses and inflating those of their enemy.
In related news, a Daghestani group calling itself the Shari'a Jamaat claimed on 11 January that it had carried out six deadly attacks against security forces in December. The report could not be independently verified.
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