Over 30 gunmen surrender in Chechnya amnesty

MOSCOW, July 28 (RIA Novosti) - More than 30 gunmen have surrendered to federal law-enforcement officers in Chechnya in an amnesty, the National Anti-Terrorism Committee said Friday.

"Thirty-three gunmen have given themselves up after the chairman of the National Anti-Terrorism Committee and head of the Federal Security Service, Nikolai Patrushev, declared an amnesty July 15 for those gunmen who surrender," the committee said.

The committee said 27 gunmen had laid down arms in Chechnya, three in Daghestan and another three in Ingushetia, all North Caucasus republics in Russia.

Patrushev announced the amnesty two weeks ago, setting the deadline at August 1, after Russia's terrorist No. 1 Shamil Basayev, involved in the bloody hostage taking tragedy in a school in Beslan, Ingushetia, was killed on July 10.

Chechen President Alu Alkhanov has requested the federal authorities to extend the amnesty deadline until January 1.

The active phase of the anti-terrorism campaign in Chechnya is over, according to the Kremlin, but sporadic fighting continues hampering efforts to rebuild housing and infrastructure and create jobs in the republic after a decade of warfare.

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