11:18 GMT +319 April 2019
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    Over 100 militants 'neutralized' in Chechnya in 2008 - official

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    GROZNY, March 13 (RIA Novosti) - Law enforcement bodies have arrested or killed over 100 militants in Russia's North Caucasus republic of Chechnya since the start of this year, a senior police official said on Thursday.

    "Police have neutralized more than 100 members of criminal armed groups in operations since the start of this year," Nikolai Simakov, also Chechnya's first deputy interior minister, said. "19 of them were killed after they resisted arrest, 78 were detained and 10 gave themselves up."

    Simakov said a gang led by Uvais Techiyev, involved in a series of attacks and murders of police officers in late 2007, and another group active in the mountainous Shatoi district had been eliminated.

    Simakov claimed the numbers of terrorist attacks in the republic declined by almost 72% last year.

    Moscow has significantly scaled down its military presence in Chechnya, since two devastating military campaigns, in 1994-1996 and 1999-2001. But random fighting and terrorist attacks still occur in the area, despite a widely publicized amnesty campaign announced by authorities.

    In a sign of Chechnya's recent relative stability, Russia's Football Union gave the go ahead for Terek FC, a premier league soccer club based in the Chechen capital, to play its home matches in Grozny. The team earlier played in the city of Pyatigorsk in neighboring Stavropol.

    On Friday, Grozny hosts a soccer match between Terek and Krylya Sovetov from the central Russian city of Samara.

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