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Russia: Chechen Separatist Reported Wounded

Moscow, 11 April 1997 (RFE/RL) - Chechen former field commander Salman Raduyev was reported today to have been seriously injured in an ambush, but officials in Grozny said they had no information on the incident.

Russian NTV reported Salman Raduyev was driving with his bodyguards to Gudermes, some 30 kilometers east of Grozny, when a series of explosions hit the two cars in which they were travelling. One of the vehicles reportedly burst into flames. Raduyev was said to have been taken to hospital. Citing members of his entourage, NTV said he was alive but was kept at a secret location.

It is not known who was behind the reported attack. A Raduyev aide, Sultan Minyeev, said later today Raduyev was in critical condition. He blamed Russian forces for the assassination attempt and said retaliatory strikes would be carried out. There was no immediate response from Moscow.

Contacted by telephone, Chechen first deputy Prime Minister Movladi Udugov however said he had no information of the incident.

Raduyev, a hardline separatist, led a hostage-taking raid in 1996 in the neighbouring Russian republic of Dagestan, which ended with dozens dead when Russian troops tried to free the hostages by force. Since the end of the war in Chechnya, Raduyev has threatened Russia with terrorist attacks on several occasions.