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    MESSENGER OF MILITANT LEADERS SURRENDERS TO CHECHEN AUTHORITIES

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    GROZNY, April 6, 2004 (RIA Novosti) - A militant leader's messenger has surrendered to the law enforcement bodies in Chechnya, reported the joint press center of the Regional Operational Headquarters for controlling the anti-terrorist operation in the North Caucasus.

    "The militant who surrendered was born in 1980 and for the last seven months was a messenger for the leaders of bandit groups that are active in the Kurchaloi, Nozhai-Yurt and Vedeno districts," said a spokesman for the headquarters.

    He noted that, according to the militant, the bandits, who are hiding in the mountains, receive contradictory orders from Maskhadov and Basayev (separatist leaders). For example, some orders tell the militants to remain in their positions and intensify terrorist attacks, while others tell them to go to regions where Arab mercenaries are in difficult situations and need assistance.

    "This can be explained by the fact that Basayev strives to preserve the mercenaries as his own support and to continue to receive the necessary financial aid from foreign extremist centers," the spokesman added.

    He said that according to his information, the conflicts between Basayev's and Maskhadov's subordinates sometimes result in armed clashes. For instance, after the death of the commander of a bandit unit that was active in the Nozhai-Yurt district, there were two potential leaders: Damask, a relative of one of Maskhadov's body guards, and Sardar, a militant from Basayev's entourage. As confirmation of their right to the post, each of them presented written orders of their commanders.

    "The conflict between them resulted in a skirmish in the nearby village of Sherdi-Mokh. Three militants were seriously wounded in the fight," the spokesman added.

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