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Caucasus: Russian Military Warns Chechen Rebels Prepare New Attacks

Moscow, 10 July (RFE/RL) -- The Russian army high command has warned that Chechen rebels are regrouping in the southern mountains of Chechnya in preparation for new coordinated attacks against Russian federal troops. Yesterday, the military warned the inhabitants of Urus-Martan, southwest of the capital Grozny, of possible terrorist attacks.

Thousands dispersed quickly but calmly in response to appeals from Russian soldiers circling in helicopters over a market place in the middle of Urus-Martan.

The exodus follows an announcement last Friday by Chechen President Aslan Maskhadov that his forces plan more attacks on Russian forces. The separatists warned civilians to abandon Grozny, Gudermes, Urus-Martan and the town of Argun.

The Russian command is also braced for attacks in Grozny, where a major arms cache was uncovered this weekend.