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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Chechnya Seeks Leads On Kidnapped Police

COMBINED REPORTS


A search for three Russian policemen abducted during a weekend border clash with Chechen guerrillas has not turned up any clues to their whereabouts, Itar-Tass reported.


The officers were taken captive when a police unit came under automatic-rifle and grenade-launcher fire near the settlement of Yuzhanin on the Chechen border on Saturday. Two other officers were seriously wounded in the attack, Russian police officials said.


Measures to track down and free the three missing policemen were fruitless so far, Itar-Tass said Sunday.


In Chechnya, the separatist government's security chief, Lecha Khultugov, said Sunday that the attack was carried out by former members of an elite police force run by the republic's one-time Russian-installed cabinet.


"National traitors from the former ... government are trying to use every method available to destabilize the situation and resume hostilities in the republic. They know they will have to answer to the Chechen people anyway,'' Khultugov said, according to Itar-Tass.


He said more border provocations were planned.


In the Chechen capital, Grozny, meanwhile, a group of armed men identifying themselves as Interior Ministry officers abducted three members of a Chechen family, Interfax said Sunday.


According to eyewitness reports, the gunmen abducted a husband, wife and their 14-year-old son, the news agency said. Two other children, aged 9 and 4, were left behind in the house, Interfax said. It did not say when the incident took place.


The Chechen Interior Ministry denied any involvement in the abduction and is trying to find out who was responsible, the ministry's press service was quoted by Interfax as saying.


Russia and its breakaway republic of Chechnya signed a peace deal earlier this year, formally ending their nearly two-year war. But numerous guerrilla groups still are active in Chechnya in spite of government efforts to impose order and disarm them.


Chechen President Aslan Maskhadov, the former separatist military chief, reiterated Saturday that he was determined to establish the rule of law in the republic.


"Anyone who engages in crime must be called to account, even if he has defeated 10 Russian armies during the war,'' Maskhadov told a congress of war veterans in Grozny.


In a separate development Sunday, a government delegation from Chechnya arrived in the Russian capital for talks on economic cooperation, Itar-Tass said.


Chechen First Deputy Prime Minister Movladi Udugov was quoted by Itar-Tass as saying that his delegation, which includes oil, banking and customs officials, would meet First Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Anatoly Chubais on Monday.


The Chechen delegation will also have talks with Central Bank Chairman Sergei Dubinin and Anatoly Kruglov, head of the state customs committee, Itar-Tass said.


Udugov said the main aim of the talks was to resolve questions for completing agreements on banking, customs and transporting oil across the separatist southern region. ()