Thirteen Killed in Chechnya, Two Russian Soldiers Freed
Seven guerrillas and six policemen died in separate incidents in Chechnya as troops freed two Russian soldiers kidnapped by rebels in the breakaway republic, Interfax quoted Russian military sources as saying on Saturday.
The two 19-year-old soldiers, kidnapped a month ago in Chali, southeast of the capital Grozny, were rescued during an army operation, the pro-Russian prosecutor in Chechnya said.
Separately six police officers were killed and nine others injured on Friday when their vehicle ran over a landmine, military sources said.
Three Chechen rebels were killed and 11 soldiers injured during clashes near the southeastern town of Vedeno on Friday, Interfax quoted local military authorities as saying.
Four guerrillas were also killed during an exchange of gunfire in Grozny on Friday. The firefight broke out after a police patrol attempted to arrest the rebels, the interior ministry said.
Some 40 people blocked the road linking the eastern town of Gudermes with Grozny for around two hours on Friday to protest at the arrest of a suspected Chechen fighter on August 2, Interfax reported.
Landmines have claimed the lives of hundreds of soldiers since Russian federal troops poured into Chechnya in a self-declared "anti-terrorist" operation in October 1999.
Moscow has nonetheless failed to wipe out guerrilla activity in the Caucasian republic -- MOSCOW (AFP)