Chechen PM Says All Militant Groups Eliminated

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GROZNY (RIA Novosti) — Chechnya’s new prime minister said Friday that all militant groups had been eliminated in the republic.

"We have finally eliminated all militant groups in the Chechen republic," Ramzan Kadyrov told a news conference. "Only a few notorious figures are left, and their elimination is only a question of time."

He said that more than 3,000 operatives had continued to search for notorious Chechen warlords Shamil Basayev and Doku Umarov in the mountainous regions of the republic.

"The core of these [search] units consists of pardoned militants who have great combat experience, know the tactics of illegal armed groups and are familiar with local terrain," Kadyrov said.

The Chechen PM said that Basayev, who has claimed responsibility for the Beslan school massacre in September 2004 and other attacks, was acting under the patronage of foreign secret services, and without their support he and Umarov would have been eliminated long time ago.

In a separate comment, Kadyrov harshly criticized Chechen officials who often traveled to Russia to visit their families.

"It is time to stop frequent visits to various cities in Russia in order to see your families under the pretense of going on business trips," Kadyrov said addressing officials at a government meeting.

"I warn you: either you put all effort into your work, bringing your families back to Chechnya, or you resign from your posts," he said.

The PM also said he planned to fight corruption in the republic.

"I will not allow anybody to embezzle the funds that have been allocated for the revival of Chechen economy," Kadyrov said. "Every ruble will be accounted for and will not be used for wrong purposes."

Series of Terror Attacks Prevented in Chechnya

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GROZNY (RIA Novosti) — A series of large-scale terrorist attacks militants planned to make on Fatherland Defenders’ Day has been prevented in Chechnya, the North Caucasus republic’s interior minister said Thursday.

Ruslan Alkhanov said policemen had been monitoring a gang led by Isa Muskiyev, suspected of "supervising" gangs acting in the republic’s Shali, Kurchaloi and Argun districts.

Alkhanov said 11 powerful self-made explosive devices had been seized from a cache in Grozny.

"They were made in the form of buckets and canisters containing metal balls and reinforced concrete parts filled with explosives and covered with sealing foam," the minister said.

Besides, the cache contained seven artillery shells militants had planned to use as landmines, four grenade launchers and many ammunition items for small arms.

Alkhanov said the search for militants who had planned attacks was underway.

A source in the republic’s law enforcement agencies said another two caches had been discovered in Chechnya’s Vedeno and Shatoi districts.