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    15 MILITANTS SURRENDER IN CHECHNYA

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    GROZNY, February 11, 2004 (RIA Novosti correspondent) - In Chechnya 15 additional fighters voluntarily surrendered on Wednesday, Ilya Shabalkin, a representative of the counter-terrorist operation in the North Caucasus, told RIA Novosti.

    According to Mr. Shabalkin, the fighters were active in the Vedenskii and Nozhay-Yurtovskii districts. They surrendered to representatives of the president of Chechnya's security service and the FSB after negotiations with local administration officials, spiritual leaders and elders.

    The final decision about the surrender was made after the spiritual leaders of Chechnya condemned recent terrorist attack in Moscow. On February 6, an explosion in the Moscow metro killed 39 people.

    Representative of the general staff reported that those who have surrendered would be checked against the participation to the heavy crimes; therefore their surrender does not imply an automatic release from penal responsibility.

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