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Chechnya: Officials Facing Dismissal Over Bombing

Grozny, 30 December 2002 (RFE/RL) -- With the official death toll now at 61, Russian authorities say they are recommending the dismissal of senior security officials in Chechnya for failing to prevent the devastating bombing of the pro-Russian government building in Grozny. Deputy Prosecutor-General Sergei Fridinskii said the investigation has so far found with "certainty" that there were violations of measures designed to guard and defend Grozny and the government compound.

Officials say a trio of suicide bombers on 27 December used Russian military uniforms, identification, and license plates to drive through security checkpoints and smash their explosives-packed vehicles into the pro-Moscow administration compound. The compound was believed to have been the most heaviliy guarded building in Chechnya.

Chechen Interior Minister Ruslan Tsakaev said a probe has found that the three bombers had a "Slavic appearance and spoke Russian without an accent." He gave no further details.

Russian authorities have said they suspect Chechen separatists working with international terrorists were responsible for the attack.