Russians Kill Aide to Chechen Warlord as More Rebel Lives Lost
Russian forces have killed a top aide to a leading Chechen warlord, Interfax reported on Monday, as the death toll continued to mount in fighting between separatist rebels and Russian troops.
Interfax, quoting the Russian defence mininstry, said Russian special units had killed Adam Umalatov, senior military aide to the Jordanian-born warlord known only as Khattab, along with two Arab mercenaries, but gave no details.
Russian army officials quoted by ITAR-TASS said meanwhile that Umalatov was killed Saturday in the mountainous Tsa Vedeno region together with three of his bodyguards.
Umalatov was head of the Islamic brigades and also close to warlord Shamil Basayev, having fought Russian or pro-Russian forces in Abkhazia, a breakaway region of western Georgia, in Nagorno Karabakh, Azerbaijan, and in Chechnya during the 1994-96 war, the agency said.
Umalatov was also an aide to the security chief of rebel Chechen President Aslan Maskhadov whom Moscow disavowed shortly after his election in 1997.
ITAR-TASS said a total of 19 rebel fighters had been killed by federal forces over the past 24 hours in a series of operations in the Vedeno, Nozhai-Yurt, Grozny and Gudermes regions,
In the same period, two Russian military vehicles were blown up by mines, and rebel attacks killed two policemen and wounded four others, Interfax said, quoting Russian military officials at their regional headquarters at Khankala, just east of the capital Grozny -- MOSCOW, (AFP)