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Ten Killed And 25 Wounded In Chechen Bomb Blast


Moscow, April 19 (RFE/RL) - Ten people are reported killed and 25 wounded when a bomb hit near the southern Chechen separatist stronghold of Bamut early today as Russian forces bomb Chechen separatist positions in the region.

Valentin Volvach, chief prosecutor of the neighboring region of Ingushetia told Itar-Tass that the bomb hit the village of Arshty, five kilometers from Bamut.

Sayd Khakuchayev, the prefect of the southwestern Achkoi Martan region told Russian radio (Ekho Moskvy) that aerial strikes are being carried out and artillery and mortar explosions can be heard around Bamut. Khakuchayev said federal forces control half of the village.

Bamut, a former Soviet nuclear missile base, has suffered heavy shelling and bombing in the last few weeks.

Meanwhile, our correspondent in Moscow reports deputies of Russia's State Duma have called for a day of mourning for the scores of Russian servicemen killed in a separatist ambush on Tuesday.

It is still unclear just how many Russian servicemen were killed during the attack on a Russian convoy near the village of Shatoi in southern Chechnya.

A top Russian official told our correspondent that more than 90 Russian soldiers were killed in the attack. Yesterday, Russian officials said 53 servicemen had been killed, rather than 26 as had been reported initially.

Yesterday, the commander of Chechen separatist forces Aslan Maskhadov said it is a mistake to press for complete independence from Moscow. In an interview with the Russian daily, "Nezavisimaya Gazeta", Maskhadov also said he also believes it is impossible for either side to win the war outright.
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