CHECHNYA: CRIME RAMPANT, WARNS INTERIOR MINISTER

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GROZNY, November 3 (RIA Novosti) - Crime remains rampant in Chechnya with crying unemployment and other social and economic hardships, warned Ruslan Alkhanov, acting republican Interior Minister. He was addressing a conference republican President Alu Alkhanov was chairing in Grozny, Chechen capital.

Up to 75 per cent of the republic's ablebodied population are out of job. Characteristically, persons with no fixed incomes account for more than a half of officially registered crimes, said the minister.

There is a ray of hope, however-the year's ten months brought the crime rate 13.2 per cent down thanks to the Interior Ministry's preventive efforts. The number of kidnaps more than halved-140 this year against 382 in 2003. The number of premeditated murders shrank by a third, with a 27.3 per cent cut for crimes involving weaponry.

The republican police joined hands with federal law enforcement agencies for several big target operations this year. 218 paramilitaries were seized, 93 killed, and 102 forced or coaxed to give themselves up.

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