Grozny, 20 March 2000 (RFE/RL) - A top Russian commander says Russian forces have taken the southern Chechen village of Komsomolskoye and are searching the area for any remaining rebels. Colonel-General Gennady Troshev told ORT television yesterday that Russian forces killed 42 Chechen rebels yesterday in their efforts to flush out rebel holdouts in the area of the village.
Troshev said the operation to take control of Komsomolskoye was completed, but that some rebels may still be hiding in basements.
Earlier yesterday, the military command said Russian forces pulled out of Komsomolskoye in order to prepare for artillery to pound the village. As a result of the shelling, Troshev said the rebels had left the town and scattered.
The Russian military also said it bombarded Chechen guerrillas near 11 villages and towns during the weekend and is pursuing guerrillas in Chechnya's southern mountains.