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    LEADER OF CHECHEN BANDIT GROUP KILLED

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    MOSCOW, February 2, 2004. (RIA Novosti) - The so-called "emir" of the Gudermes jamaat (district) Movsar Taimaskhanov, who headed a big bandit group, was killed in Chechnya. Spokesman for the regional operational headquarters for holding the anti-terrorist operation in the North Caucasus Ilya Shabalkin told RIA Novosti about it in a telephone conversation on Monday.

    "The operation for destroying the "emir" was carried out three days ago by a free detachment of the militia and the Federal Security Service," he said. According to him, the information about the whereabouts of Taimaskhanov was received from the earlier detained militants from his band. During his detention the "emir" rendered resistance and was killed.

    At the present time, other members of the band and the caches belonging to them are being searched.

    Shabalkin said that during the investigation of the criminal case Taimaskhanov's specially equipped camp was found in the forest nearby the villages of Komsomolskoye and Stepnaya (Gudermes district). The militiamen found in the camp four plastic bags with 174 kilogrammes of home-made powder-like explosive, a package with aluminium powder and two larg- calibre shells.

    Apart from that, the day before a militant from Taimaskhanov's group was detained in Gudermes. In the house of the detained the militiamen found a cache in which there were 11 grenade-launchers with ammunition, two mortars with shells, a carbine, two sub-machineguns, a machinegun with ammunition, four home-made explosive devices, 300 grammes of trotyl and silencers to home-made automatic weapons.

    From the house of another detained active member of Taimaskhanov's bandit group, according to the headquarters' data, the militiamen withdrew a home-made mortar, 90 mortar projectiles, 26 detonators, 19 powder charges, seven electric detonators, clock-work detonators and more than 5,000 cartridges.

    At the present time the investigation of the criminal case continues.

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