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Pro-Moscow Chechen Official Kidnapped

Grozny, July 5 (RFE/RL) -- Interfax news agency says that unidentified gunmen seized a senior official in Chechnya's pro-Moscow government today.

The report said Colonel Anatoly Lunyov, public relations chief for the pro-Moscow Chechen government, was kidnapped by four gunmen from his Grozny home while getting into his car to go to work.

The assailants shot and wounded Lunyov's driver and a police officer who accompanied him.

Itar-Tass quoted an unnamed Chechen Interior Ministry official as saying the kidnappers acted professionally "and left Lunyov no chance to escape."

Meanwhile seven Russian soldiers were injured when a Russian Interior Ministry's armoured personnel carrier struck a land-mine near Urus-Martan in the South of Chechnya yesterday. The Russian military command says two other soldiers were wounded in scattered Chechen separatists' attacks across Chechenya in the last 24 hours.

Chechen separatists today released a Russian Orthodox priest after holding him more than five months. Father Sergai Zhigulin was reported in good health.

His release is part of a peace accord reached by Russian and Chechen separatist negotiators last month. And the Russian military command in Chechnya said the Russia army is dismantling checkpoints in Chechnya, in line with the June agreement, calling for a Russian troop withdrawal, disarmament of Chechen fighters and prisoner exchange by September 1.