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    CHECHEN POLICEMEN SUSTAIN LOSSES IN DETAINING BANDITS

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    GROZNY, March 20, 2004. (RIA Novosti). Chechen policemen are conducting an operation in the Achkhoi-Martan district to detain a group of militants who killed 2 policemen and wounded 2 local residents yesterday.

    "Three militants sheltered in the forest near the village of Samashki in the southwest of the republic. Today this area has been blocked," a spokesman for the Chechen Interior Ministry said.

    According to him, the pursuit of the militants started on Friday, when they attacked two cars with workers from the Nur-Energo company on the Samashki - Novy Sharoi road.

    Two workers from the Stavropol Territory were wounded as a result.

    Several hours later, policemen blocked Novy Sharoi where the militants were sheltering. However, they broke through the encirclement, attacking a car with deputy chief of the Achkhoi-Martan interior affairs department Lieutenant Colonel Gatayev and Sergeant Inderbiyev," a source in the Interior Ministry said.

    Killing the policemen, the militants seized their Kalashnikov sub-machinegun, Kedr pistol-machinegun, Makarov pistol and over 100 cartridges. Then they disappeared in the Samashki forest.

    According to the source, the militants have already been identified. All of them are residents of the village of Samashki.

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