The Kremlin-backed head of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, says he is implementing a new tactic in the fight against militants.
A January 1 post on the official website of the Russian region's government says that individual commanders of security forces will be "personally" tasked with searching for specific suspects who are wanted by the authorities.
"This is an effective method. It will produce good results. We will completely cleanse Chechnya of bandits," Kadyrov said.
Kadyrov frequently uses the words "bandits" to refer to suspected militants in an Islamist insurgency that is rooted in the post-Soviet separatist wars in Chechnya and has spread to other regions in Russia's North Caucasus.
Critics say heavy-handed tactics used by forces under Kadyrov's control help fuel the insurgency.
He has faced criticism in recent weeks for calling for the homes of mliitants suspected in deadly attacks to be razed and their families expelled from Chechnya.
Several homes have been torched since he spoke following a militant attack on the capital, Grozny, on December 4.