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Last Updated: Monday, 8 November, 2004, 17:14 GMT
Chechen rebels killed in clashes
Russian soldier in Grozny
Kadyrov's men and Russian troops are fighting the rebels
The pro-Moscow security forces in Chechnya say they have killed 22 separatist fighters loyal to rebel leader Shamil Basayev.

Unconfirmed reports from senior officials claimed some of the fighters had been involved in the Grozny bombing which killed president Akhmad Kadyrov.

Chechen warlord Shamil Basayev claimed responsibility for the May attack.

The authorities did not say whether they suffered any losses in the latest fighting on Monday.

Revenge

Chechen deputy prime minister Ramzan Kadyrov, son of the assassinated president, said the fighting took place in the Vedeno region, about 50km (30 miles) south-east of Grozny.

He told Itar-Tass that among the dead was Suleiman Khairulla, a senior top lieutenant of warlord Basayev and the self-proclaimed organiser of the stadium bombing that killed Mr Kadyrov and six others.

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Basayev has also claimed responsibility for the Beslan school hostage-taking in North Ossetia which left about 360 people killed.

"It was our revenge for the 9 May act of terrorism," he said.

But the Chechen president's press service RIA later denied that the man behind the bombing was killed in the attack.

Ramzan Kadyrov, 28, controls a powerful militia in Chechnya that has often been accused of human rights abuses.

Last week he said he was ready to send forces into Georgia to wipe out Chechen separatist rebels alleged to be hiding in the mountainous Pankisi Gorge area.

The death of his father led to the election of pro-Moscow President Alu Alkhanov.




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