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Chechen Operation Targets 'Hundreds' Of Rebels

An archive photo of troops in the village of Dyshne-Vedeno in southeastern Chechnya
GROZNY -- Chechen authorities have launched special operations to locate what they say are hundreds of resistance fighters in the mountainous Vedeno region of the southern Russian republic, RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.

Local law enforcement officials told RFE/RL that some 500 rebels, led by the self-proclaimed leader of a "Caucasus Emirate," Doka Umarov, are still active in the Itum-Kala and Vedeno districts.

Police say they are stopping and searching all vehicles and individuals they encounter in the area.

RFE/RL's Russian Service quoted local authorities as saying that two hideouts with weapons and ammunition, as well as two vacated rebel camps, have already been discovered.

The operation comes less than a month after officials in Moscow said major combat operations by the Russian army were over in the war-fraught republic.

Some observers have warned that Chechnya's Kremlin-backed president, Ramzan Kadyrov, might move swiftly in the wake of that announcement to act decisively against individuals or communities that he blames for continued instability.