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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Grozny Makes Appeal For Landslide Relief

Chechen President Aslan Maskhadov sent a personal message to President Boris Yeltsin, asking that Moscow help his separatist republic to deal with the consequences of landslides, a Chechen official said Monday.

Similar letters have been sent to other heads of state and international relief organizations, said Chechnya's first deputy prime minister, Turpal Algeriyev.

"The situation is getting worse every day as landslides hit new towns, villages and areas, with continuing snowfalls and torrential rains triggering more landslides," Interfax quoted Algeriyev as saying.

Hundreds of families already have lost their homes to landslides. In one district alone, Nozhai-Yurt, 527 houses have been completely destroyed, the official said.

"Russia was the first country to send aid, albeit insignificant," Algeriyev said.

Russia's Emergency Situations Minister Sergei Shoigu ordered 10 trucks carrying flour and other foodstuffs to be sent to Chechnya and he is expected to arrive in the southern republic soon to assess the damage from landslides, Algeriyev said.

Chechnya, which fought a bitter war of independence against Russia in 1994-96, considers itself an independent state. Moscow has withdrawn its troops, but continues to insist that Chechnya remains part of Russia.

As part of efforts to distance itself from Moscow, the rebel republic has moved to establish Islamic order since the end of its war for secession from Russia.

In a rare show of opposition to Moslem law in the country, as many as four explosions and grenade attacks in the past two days seriously damaged Islamic religious offices in Chechnya, officials said Monday.

Two attacks Sunday targeted the Grozny premises of Chechnya's top Moslem court, the Supreme Shariat Court, and the offices of the republic's mufti, or Islamic religious leader.

Simultaneously, an explosion followed by grenade launcher fire rocked the Moslem court building in Gudermes, a town 30 kilometers east of Grozny, the capital, Chechnya's National Security Service said.

There were no casualties in Sunday's attacks, but the buildings involved were seriously damaged, it said.

"This was carried out by opponents of Chechen independence and enemies of Islam," Chechnya's mufti Akhmet Khadzhi Kadyrov said.

Security officials also reported another attack Monday on a religious office in Grozny, which apparently was bombed, but gave no further details.

The tiny southern republic has been plagued by kidnappings and other violence since the withdrawal of Kremlin troops, but Moslem leaders rarely have been targeted.