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Chechnya: Russian Troops Meeting Rebel Resistance

Urus-Martan, Russia; 16 March 2000 (RFE/RL) - The Russian military command says today that troops in the southern Chechen village of Komsomolskoye continue to meet stiff resistance from small groups of rebel holdouts. From early morning, Russian artillery deployed around the town of Urus-Martan has been firing at targets near Komsomolskoye. Russia yesterday claimed control of the village after a week of intense fighting. War planes are bombing other communities in the region.

The Russian military estimates that about 5,000 rebel fighters are still at large in Chechnya. At least 1,500 are believed to be hiding behind Russian lines in occupied parts of northern Chechnya. An equal number are thought to remain in the southeast mountain region by the republic of Daghestan, while scattered groups are still resisting in the south and west.