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Authorities Say More Chechen Rebels Lay Down Arms

Chechen fighters laying down their arms in Gudermes today (ITAR-TASS) August 29, 2006 -- Chechnya's Moscow-backed authorities say more rebels have laid down their arms in the restive republic.

Authorities say some 50 rebel fighters surrendered at a ceremony today in Gudermes, Chechnya's second-largest city.

Prime Minister Ramzan Kadyrov, in comments broadcast on Russian television, said a local rebel leader is among those who surrendered.

"[Among those who surrendered] is the chief of the special reconnaissance department under [former separatist leader Aslan] Maskhadov," Kadyrov said. "There are former emirs, former Ichkeria local police chiefs. So, there are well known people among them."

Russia's National Antiterrorism Committee says 178 fighters have surrendered since an amnesty was announced last month.

The committee also said that since the beginning of this year, more than 90 rebels have been killed and more than 560 have been detained. Since September 2003, more than 800 have been killed, and more than 3,000 detained.

Russia has fought two wars against separatists in Chechnya since 1994. Large-scale fighting has died down, but rebels continue to carry out frequent attacks targeting security forces and pro-Moscow officials.

(ITAR-TASS, Interfax)

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