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Caucasus/Russia/Central Asia
Caucasus Corpse Count
Thousands of police are searching Chechnya's southern mountains for rebel warlord Shamil Basayev, Chechen Prime Minister Ramzan Kadyrov said Friday.

"Up to 3,000 police are involved in a round-the-clock operation to capture Basayev," Kadyrov said, according to a spokesman for Chechen President Alu Alkhanov.

At least 10 policemen loyal to the Chechen government have been killed in recent days in clashes with rebels in the foothills of the mountains, a source in the local security forces said Friday.

Witnesses said explosions in the battles in the Vedeno district were so loud they were audible in Grozny, 50 kilometers to the north.

A spokesman for the local government's Anti-Terrorist Center declined to confirm the losses, saying official figures showed three policemen had been killed and one injured. He said four rebels had been killed.

The source said security forces had been ambushed when trying to attack a base run by Rabbani, a separatist leader usually identified by his first name alone and who has previously led rebels in neighboring Dagestan.

Also Friday, unidentified gunmen gravely wounded two police officers in a shootout at a market in Ingushetia near Chechnya, the regional Interior Ministry said. The shootout broke out shortly before noon outside a restaurant at the central market in the town of Ordzhonikidzevskaya, said a duty officer in the Ingush Interior Ministry. The gunmen managed to escape.
Posted by:Dan Darling