Russia Claims to Kill Leading Chechen Commander
Russian forces have killed the right-hand man of feared rebel field commander Arbi Barayev, Interfax news agency said Tuesday, quoting Russia's federal military command.
There was no immediate response by the Chechen rebels to the claim.
Russian officials said the rebel, Aslanbek Didiyev, was killed during a shootout with federal forces in the Urus-Martan region southwest of the shelled-out capital Grozny.
Moscow has on several occasions claimed to have killed or injured senior guerrilla leaders, including top commander Shamil Basayev and President Aslan Maskhadov, only for the claims to later prove false.
Russian forces stormed into Chechnya on October 1, 1999 for what was billed as an anti-terrorist operation.
It has since degenerated into a brutal guerrilla war -- MOSCOW (AFP)
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