Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov has said dozens of suspected militants were detained and four of them killed in a special security operation in Chechnya on January 11.
"Four militants were annihilated during a special operation in the populated areas of the Kurchaloi district," while one member of the security forces was killed, he said.
One armed suspect escaped, taking advantage of the dark during the nighttime operation, but he was being tracked down, Kadyrov said.
Mines, explosives, ammunition, and weapons were reportedly seized from the detained militants, who Kadyrov described as a "gang."
Kadyrov said that some of the gunmen were close relatives of Isa Muskiyev, the so-called bloody emir killed in 2006. Before his death, Muskiyev and his brother are said to have killed 102 people from Chechnya's Kurchaloi and Shali districts.
The security situation in the North Caucasus region remains volatile. Unemployment and corruption are rife, pushing some young men to embrace radical versions of Islam.
Moscow has waged two wars against separatists in the predominantly Muslim region since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Kadyrov is a former rebel fighter who is now loyal to President Vladimir Putin.
Based on reporting by Reuters, TASS, and Interfax