Deadline for Chechnya gunmen surrender extended to Sept. 30

MOSCOW, July 31 (RIA Novosti) - The chairman of the National Anti-Terror Committee Monday extended the term for the voluntary surrender of Chechen militants until September 30.

"Considering that the National Anti-Terror Committee has approved and duly sent to the State Duma a draft amnesty law and also taking into account the number of applications and requests coming in, the NAC chairman has decided to extend the term for the voluntary surrender of Chechen militants until September 30," the NAC said in a statement.

The NAC said 63 gunmen had so far surrendered to federal law-enforcement officers in Chechnya.

The head of the Federal Security Service, Nikolai Patrushev, declared an amnesty on July 15 for gunmen willing to surrender, with a deadline of August 1, after Russia's terrorist number one Shamil Basayev, involved in the Beslan school siege and other atrocities, was killed on July 10.

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

Russia's National Anti-Terrorism Committee said last week that 27 gunmen had laid down arms in Chechnya, three in Daghestan, and another three in Ingushetia in Russia's North Caucasus.

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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