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Caucasus: Six Russian Soldiers Killed In Chechnya

Nazran, 20 July 2000 (RFE/RL) -- The Russian Interior Ministry says that at least six soldiers were killed and 11 wounded in attacks today in Russian-controlled regions of Chechnya. The ministry said the attacks occurred in the towns of Argun, Chiri-Yurt, Dzhalka and Gekhi. All these towns are in proximity of Grozny.

The ministry said military convoys and vehicles were the main targets of the attacks. Further details were not available.

Meantime, it remains unclear today whether Bislan Gantamirov, Chechen official who has defied the Moscow-appointed civilian administrator in the breakaway republic, will heed calls from his superiors to back down.

Earlier this week, Gantamirov increased tensions over the administration of Chechnya when he ordered 200 armed men to search for rebels in Gudermes. Moscow's top civilian leader in Chechnya, Mufti Akhmad Kadyrov, called the action an "armed mutiny."

Chechnya's acting prosecutor, Nikolai Shepel, has threatened to bring criminal charges against Gantamirov.