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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Raduyev May Have Jail Burial

Prison officials said Monday that Chechen warlord Salman Raduyev would likely be buried in a prison cemetery plot rather than turned over to relatives, as controversy continued to swirl around the circumstances of his death.

Raduyev, who led a bloody 1996 hostage raid in southern Russia that left 78 people dead, died of internal bleeding while serving a life sentence in a hard labor camp in the Perm region, officials said Sunday.

Vladimir Yermolayev, chief of the local penitentiary department where Raduyev was serving his sentence, said he had not heard from any of Raduyev's relatives about reclaiming the body, Itar-Tass reported. If three days pass and no official request is received, Raduyev's body will be buried in the city cemetery in a special plot reserved for prisoners, Yermolayev said.

Officials have insisted that Raduyev died of natural causes. However, the Kommersant daily on Monday quoted an unnamed prison source as saying that Raduyev died after a guard struck him repeatedly during a check of inmates' cells. Prison officials strongly denied the allegation, Kommersant said.

Raduyev led the 1996 raid on the southern town of Kizlyar, in which rebels took hundreds of people hostage at a local hospital and used some of them as human shields. Last December, a court sentenced him to life imprisonment after he was found guilty of terrorism and murder.

Meanwhile, one soldier was killed and six wounded as federal outposts came under rebel attack 15 times over the past 24 hours in Chechnya, an official in the Moscow-backed Chechen administration said on condition of anonymity.

Three Chechen police were killed and one wounded in clashes with rebels during the same period, the official said. A civilian woman also was killed and two men wounded when their car apparently tripped a land mine and exploded.

In a separate incident, armed gunmen dressed in camouflage beat and abducted three employees of the Chechen prosecutor's office near the village of Serzhen-Yurt. Two of the employees were later released, the official said.