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Russia: Fighting Against Islamist Militants Continues In Dagestan

Makhachkala, Dagestan; 3 September 1999 (RFE/RL) - Russian Interior Ministry officials say one Russian soldier was killed and 27 have been wounded in the last 24 hours as fighting continues against Islamist separatists in Dagestan's Buinaksk district. ITAR-TASS quotes the officials as saying Russian troops still hold positions in the village of Karamakhi, but their advance has been hampered near the village of Chabanmakhi by anti-personnel mines and fierce fighting by the militants. Russian helicopters and artillery reportedly attacked Chabanmakhi again early today. Deputy Interior Minister Vladimir Kolesnikov said a group of surrounded separatist fighters tried to break through a Russian encirclement around Chabanmakhi yesterday but failed. Fighting also was reported yesterday along the Dagestan-Chechen border, where a group of 20 Islamist fighters attempted to cross into Dagestasn's Tsumadinsky region. Russian reports say the group was chased back into Chechnya.