Soldier casualties exceed 6,600 in Chechnya campaigns - 1

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MOSCOW, October 8 (RIA Novosti) - A senior Russian military official said Monday that over 6,600 servicemen had been killed in two military campaigns in the Chechen Republic in the North Caucasus.

"According to our information, a total of 6,688 people have been killed since November 1994," said Major General Alexander Kerilin, the head of the memorial center of the Armed Forces.

He said the figure included not only Armed Forces servicemen but also those under the command of the Interior Ministry, the Emergency Situations Ministry and other law enforcement bodies.

Chechnya, with a population of over a million people as of the last national census in 2002, was devastated by two military campaigns, in 1994-1996 and 1999-2001. In recent years federal troops have substantially scaled down their presence in the province.

Although the active phase of the North Caucasus anti-terrorism campaign officially ended in 2001, periodic bombings and clashes between gunmen and federal troops still disrupt Chechnya and nearby regions, including Daghestan, Ingushetia, Kabardino-Balkaria, and Karachayevo-Circassia.

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