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 Monday, 30 December, 2002, 21:44 GMT
Chechnya mourns as death toll rises
Rescue workers at the scene of the blast
The bombs were equivalent to one ton of TNT
The head of the pro-Russian Chechen government, whose headquarters were devastated in a suicide bombing on Friday, has declared three days of official mourning.

Ahmed Kadyrov made the announcement as the death toll from the attack - Russia's worst-ever suicide bomb tragedy - rose to 80.

Russian President Vladimir Putin
Putin: "Inhuman attack"
He cancelled all public New Year celebrations.

Russian prosecutors are preparing to charge personnel who failed to stop the attackers getting through to the fortified site.

Meanwhile, the Chechen prosecutors' office has recommended that the military commandant in charge of Grozny, and the commandant in charge of guarding the government compound, should be dismissed.

Security breached

Russian President Vladimir Putin described the attack as "inhuman", accusing the rebels of waging war against their own people.

Aslan Maskhadov
Maskhadov denied any involvement
The Russian Government has announced that families of those who lost someone in the attack will receive 100,000 roubles - about $3,000 - and those badly wounded will receive half this sum.

This is the same amount that was paid out to families of the victims of the Moscow theatre siege in October.

Deputy Prosecutor General Sergei Fridinksy has said he is preparing to charge people who enable the bombers to get through.

The attackers were able to drive two vehicles through a triple barrier protecting the complex, and it is believed that this could have been done only with help from the inside.

They detonated bombs equivalent to one ton of TNT explosives, which left more than 150 people wounded as well as the 80 dead.

BBC correspondent Steve Rosenberg, in Moscow, says it is unclear what impact the attack will have on the Kremlin's proposed peace initiative for the region - which includes holding a referendum early next year on a new constitution, followed by new elections.

Rebels blamed

Pro-Russian officials have blamed rebel Chechen leader Aslan Maskhadov for the attack, but Mr Maskhadov has denied any involvement.

Mr Maskhadov issued a statement of condolence on Saturday saying the attack was wrong.

"I speak to those who have decided to take the path of self-sacrifice after suffering painful experiences and losses," he said in the statement carried on rebel websites.

"I understand you but I cannot support you," he said.


On Monday, Russian forces in Chechnya said they had found documents linking the Chechen separatist leader, Aslan Maskhadov, to international extremist groups and the plotting of attacks.

Military spokesman Colonel Ilya Shabalkin said the papers were proof that Mr Maskhadov ordered terrorist attacks in Chechnya.

He said among the documents was an order, dated October 2000, naming a Chechen representative to the Afghan capital, Kabul, then ruled by the Taleban regime which was closely associated with al-Qaeda.

Correspondents say Russian officials have sought to play up links between radical Chechen militants and Mr Maskhadov who was elected Chechen president in 1997, but was later disowned by Moscow.

See also:

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