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Chechnya anti-terrorism center officers accused of robberies

MOSCOW, January 19 (RIA Novosti) - A criminal case against anti-terrorism center officers in Chechnya accused of committing 21 robberies in Grozny has been passed on to the North Caucasus republic's Supreme Court, police said Friday.

The gang, which was active in Grozny between December 2005 and May 2006, attacked apartments at night. A total of 59 people have been identified as victims of the gang, with total damages estimated at more than 2 million rubles ($75,400).

"During the investigation, it was established that an officer of the Chechen Republic's anti-terrorism center set up an armed group from among his colleagues and acquaintances in December 2005.

"During their attacks, the bandits used Kalashnikov assault rifles, Makarov handguns, ammunition, military uniforms and equipment provided to them by the anti-terrorism center," police said.

A police spokesman said the bandits would announce themselves as officers with the organized crime department, charged with checking passports. He said they would burst into apartments and rob city residents of household appliances, jewels and cash, beating anyone who resisted.

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