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Russia: Troops Pursuing Chechens In Ingushetia

Nazran, Ingushetia; 27 September 2002 (RFE/RL) -- Russian troops are searching for small bands of Chechen fighters that have split off from a larger group that fought yesterday in one of the largest battles of the current campaign in Chechnya. Between 100 and 300 Chechen fighters clashed yesterday with Russian troops in and around the Ingush village of Galashki.

The deputy interior minister of Ingushetia, Khamatkhan Albakov, said the Chechens had broken up into small groups of three to five men and were traveling toward the nearby border with Chechnya.

Russian Deputy Prosecutor-General Sergei Fridinskii said three of the six Chechens taken prisoner in yesterday's fighting had provided information to interrogators. The prisoners reportedly said they crossed into Russian territory on 1 September and had been making their way from the Russian republic of North Ossetia toward Chechnya since then.