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Chechen Administration Says Top Rebel Leader Killed

(RFE/RL) 19 January 2006 -- The pro-Moscow Chechen administration today said that security forces have killed a top separatist field commander allegedly responsible for the spread of radical Islam in the region.

In comments made to reporters in Grozny, Chechen Interior Minister Ruslan Alkhanov identified the dead militant as Supian Abdulayev.

Abdulayev and two other Chechen fighters were reportedly killed on 18 January during a gun battle in Agyshty, a small settlement in Chechnya's Shali Raion.

Alkhanov said Abdulayev was among those responsible for propagating Wahhabism -- a blanket term used in Russia to describe nonofficial Islam -- in Chechnya.

In a statement carried by the pro-independence Daymokh news agency, the Chechen separatist leadership said it is still unable to confirm Abdulayev's death.

(Interfax, ITAR-TASS, Daymokh)

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