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Tuesday, 1 October, 2002, 21:34 GMT 22:34 UK
Killed reporter's Chechen rebel pictures
Chechen rebels cross stream, pictured by Roddy Scott
The pictures show the rebels in their mountain hideouts
BBC News Online publishes here some of the last pictures taken by the British freelance television reporter, Roddy Scott, whose body was found in Ingushetia last week after a bloody battle between Chechen rebels and Russian forces.

The pictures show the bearded rebels carrying their weapons through the Caucasus mountains on their way to the engagement that was, according to Russian sources, the last many of them took part in.

Open in new window  :  With the Chechen rebels
Click above to view the picture gallery

The number of casualties from the battle at Galashki on Thursday has not been confirmed, but Russian officers have claimed that dozens of rebels died.

Roddy Scott's father, Robin, writing to The Times on Tuesday, said his son had courageously chosen to travel with the Chechens, in order to remedy the sparse media reporting of an appalling conflict.

Russian and Georgian officials claim that the rebels crossed over the Caucasus mountains from the relative safety of Georgia's Pankisi Gorge.

Roddy Scott
Roddy Scott died obtaining the pictures
The body of the 31-year-old, from Yorkshire, was found with a passport containing a Georgian visa valid until 15 September - but no Russian visa.

Both his family and his employers said he had been in Georgia until recently, and Mr Scott's letter to The Times says he had made "an abortive sortie over the Caucasus last year in extreme winter conditions".

Mr Scott denied suggestions that his son was suicidal or crazy, saying he was totally alert to all the risks he took.

Vaughan Smith, the director of Frontline Television, for whom Roddy worked, described him as "tenacious, courageous reporter".

"He made a risk assessment, as we do, and had decided that he was prepared to take the apparent risks," Mr Smith said.

Lingering conflict

The Chechen rebels succeeded against all odds in expelling Russian forces from their territory after the first war they fought together, between 1994 and 1996.

It was exactly three years ago, on 1 October 1999, that Russian forces returned to Chechnya, after a wave of apartment block bombings in Russia, blamed by Russian officials on Chechens and "international terrorists".

Map of the region
Russian politicians say that the military conflict is now over, and that only "anti-terrorist" operations are still taking place in Chechnya.

However, Russian soldiers continue die on a regular basis, albeit usually as a result of guerrilla-style Chechen raids, rather than pitched battles. The clash at Galashki was the biggest for months.

According to Georgian officials, the rebels involved had been driven out of the Pankisi Gorge as a result of a sweep operation conducted by Georgian troops.

Russian officers say that they are now surrounded, and are being prevented from crossing from Ingushetia into Chechnya. However, if they succeed in passing unnoticed through Russian lines, it would not be the first time.

See also:

28 Sep 02 | Europe
27 Sep 02 | Europe
02 Sep 02 | Europe
27 Sep 02 | Europe
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