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Russian Official: Police Involved In Chechen Abductions

1 February 2005 -- A high-ranking Russian official said yesterday that police and soldiers are apparently taking part in abductions in Chechnya.

Arkady Yedelev, head of regional counterterrorist operations, said in comments shown on NTV television that "senior officials, certain servicemen, and leaders of bandit groups are taking part in abductions."

Disappearances and kidnappings have plagued Chechnya for years.

Human rights groups recently alleged that relatives of Chechen separatist leader Aslan Maskhadov were abducted by security forces.

Chechen Prosecutor-General Vladimir Kravchenko admitted yesterday that eight Maskhadov relatives were apparently abducted and said an investigation has been opened. But he said the investigation so far has shown security forces were not involved in their disappearances.