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Russia: Seven Kidnapped In Chechnya; One Reported Killed

Moscow, 25 April 1997 (RFE/RL) - Russian media are reporting seven people were kidnapped in a region bordering on breakaway Chechnya last night. The Itar-Tass news agency says one of the victims was found dead today in a forest near the village of Zmeinskaya in North Ossetia.

Russian television and Tass say gunmen seized a gasoline station operator and six other people in Zmeinskaya last night. Police reportedly found blood stains and empty cartridges from automatic weapons at the station.

The identity of the gunmen is not known. The fate of the other hostages is also unknown.

Chechnya and its neighboring republics have been plagued by a wave of kidnappings since the end of Chechnya's two-year war for independence last summer.