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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Rebels Kill Nephew Of Chechen Leader

The nephew of Chechnya's pro-Kremlin leader Akhmad Kadyrov was shot dead Monday along with three friends, the latest victims in a rebel campaign against Moscow loyalists.

About 10 of Kadyrov's close relatives have been murdered over the past year by rebels making good on threats to punish anyone collaborating with federal forces or even those close to perceived collaborators, according to Interfax.

The agency said Monday that Kadyrov's nephew Lecha and three friends were killed after their car came under fire when Lecha was on his way to give blood for his sister, who is hospitalized. Interfax quoted prosecutors in Chechnya as saying that Lecha was not the intended victim; rather, he fell victim to an attempt on the life of Makkhal Taramov, the head of the Kurchaloi district.

The report said that Lecha's car came under fire as it was passing a convoy carrying Taramov and other local officials traveling along the road leading from Kurchaloi to Belorechye.

In separate incidents, two servicemen were killed and two wounded when rebels ambushed a reconnaissance unit on the border between Chechnya and Ingushetia, police said Monday.

Six rebels attacked the unit Sunday near the village of Verkhny Alkun, said Madina Khatziyeva, a spokeswoman for the Ingush Interior Ministry. She said all the rebels managed to flee but a local villager, Elber Kurayev, was mistaken for a militant and killed.

Also Sunday, 12 soldiers were injured, seven gravely, when a military truck crashed in the Ingush mountains.

n?State Duma Deputy Yury Shchekochikhin said in comments published Monday that he was the legislator who met with representatives of Chechen rebel leader Aslan Maskhadov in Switzerland last month. Reports of the meeting originally appeared in the Swiss newspaper Le Temps.

Shchekochikhin -- whose comments appeared in Novaya Gazeta, where he is an editor -- gave no details of the meeting, saying only that he spoke with Ilyas Akhmadov, the self-proclaimed Chechen government's foreign minister, as a "private citizen" rather than a government official. He said the informal meeting took place in Montreaux on the sidelines of the "Globalized Responsibility and Action" conference organized by the organization Initiatives of Change and chaired by a former president of the International Committee of the Red Cross.

(Reuters, MT, AP)