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    MOSCOW, January 14th, 2004 (RIA Novosti correspondent) - Russian President Vladimir Putin has highly assessed the Daghestani police efforts to eliminate a Chechen terrorist gang that recently infiltrated the mountains of Daghestan, Chechnya's neighbour. "The Daghestani police reacted effectively, promptly and professionally," the president said on Wednesday at his meeting with Daghestani leader Magomedali Magomedov.

    The group at issue consisted of 36 terrorists. Five of them have been taken captive and the others killed.

    Putin said that he had met Russian commandos who participated in the gang's elimination. They said they were impressed with the warm welcome of local residents. According to Putin, "they were treated as relatives." The president added that the militants were particularly brutal towards captured Daghestani border guards, though they are of the same fate.

    The Daghestani leader told Putin that local residents had asked for arms to defend their settlements on their own. However, the republic has enough forces to refute any terrorist attempts to penetrate Daghestan or any other federation member, said Magomedov.

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