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18 May 2004 11:19
Eleven Russian soldiers were killed in an ambush in Chechnya, an unidentified official at the Russian forces headquarters in the separatist republic was quoted as saying by the Interfax-AVN news agency early on Tuesday.
The eleven men, who served with the Russian interior ministry forces, died after they were attacked by Chechen rebel fighters in Chechnya’s central Urus-Martan region Monday.
Some of the men, driving in a car, “fell into an ambush last Monday. The rebel fighters blew up the car and shot at the soldiers,” the official said, without elaborating.
A Russian armored vehicle then came to the men’s rescue, but Chechen fighters also blew it up and started shooting at its passengers as well, the official added.
As a result, “11 soldiers were killed, five were injured and one is missing,” the official said.
Earlier this month, Chechnya’s pro-Russian president Akhmad Kadyrov was killed in a blast in central Grozny that also cost the lives of at least six other people.
Chechnya’s renegade rebel leader Shamil Basayev on Monday reportedly claimed responsibility for the blast, in a statement posted on the rebels’ website kavkazcenter.com.
Russia poured troops into Chechnya in 1999 in what was supposed to be a quick “anti-terror” operation, which quickly degenerated into a guerrilla conflict that simmers to this day.
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