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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Putin Seeks Capture of Militants at Home and Abroad

Russia must hunt down and arrest militant groups -- at home and abroad -- before they can commit any more acts of terror like the Beslan school massacre, President Vladimir Putin said Friday.

Rebels opposed to Moscow's rule over Chechnya were behind the Beslan attack in September, but many people also believe failures by the security services played a part.

"A whole series of terrorist acts organized and executed last year by international criminal groups showed the need for a radical restructuring of state security activity," Putin told a gathering of state prosecutors.

"Today we need not just to act against terrorist acts themselves but also to do analytical work, to keep a step ahead, to identify in advance where potential conflict situations might spring up," he said in televised remarks.

Putin also took a swipe at prosecutors for failing to get Chechen rebel leaders living in exile in Western countries extradited to stand trial at home.

Prosecutors must "take painstaking care with criminal prosecutions of people involved in terrorist acts and their preparation, including those who are abroad," Putin said.

Putin first said the country's security system needed a radical overhaul after the Beslan massacre, but few details of the reform have been disclosed four months later.

Incompetence and corruption inside the security services have been widespread for years, but failures in Beslan put them under the spotlight.

More than a dozen hostage-takers, armed with automatic weapons, grenades and homemade bombs, are believed to have bribed their way through police checkpoints to the school.

Three policemen from the region are being prosecuted, but so far no senior officials.

Prosecutor General Vladimir Ustinov, speaking at Friday's gathering, said corrupt policemen were only a reflection of a broader social malaise.

"When every day brings new reports of bribe-taking by a bureaucrat ... a policeman cannot be anything other than a direct product of a society that has lost its concept of sin and conscience," he said.

 Senior Russian and Central Asian security officials warned Friday about the increasing threat of terrorism and agreed to boost anti-terror cooperation, The Associated Press reported.

Security, law enforcement and border chiefs of the Central Asian Cooperation Organization said in a statement after a meeting in the Tajik capital, Dushanbe, that the threat of terrorism had increased "substantially" because of instability in Afghanistan and Iraq.