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Chechen Leader Confirms Political Kidnappings

Relatives of separatist leader Aslan Maskhadov (in file photo) have been abducted, officials confirmed today 18 February 2005 (RFE/RL) -- The head of Chechnya's pro-Moscow administration has announced that relatives of separatist leader Aslan Maskhadov have been kidnapped.

Alu Alkhanov's comments today are a confirmation of what Chechen officials earlier said was an apparent series of abductions.

Russian and Western rights groups have said they suspect forces loyal to Chechnya's Deputy Prime Minister Ramzan Kadyrov of being responsible for the eight relatives' abductions in December.

But Alkhanov today said those allegations were "not entirely appropriate," adding that prosecutors had searched Kadyrov's home village and found nothing.

Ramzan Kadyrov is the son of Akhmed-hadji Kadyrov, who was killed in a separatist bomb attack in Grozny in May.

(with additional RIA-Novosti reporting)

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