Russia: May 6, 2002


Russian forces claimed that the latest intercepted radio exchanges indicate that after the death of Chechen warlord Khattab, Arab mercenaries Abu al-Valid and Abu Omar took over his rebel groups. However, Abu al-Valid turned down a proposal by Shamil Basayev to leave the Vedeno district and take part in operations in the Chechen lowlands.

Supposedly, rebel President Aslan Maskhadov is trying to make use of the discord between Basayev and al-Valid, since Maskhadov is trying to gain control over all rebel formations in Chechnya and unite them under a single command. 

Meanwhile, Field commanders al-Valid and Omar's fighters are actively staging acts of sabotage in the Shali and Urus-Martan districts, as well as in Grozny. Up to six rebel groups (totaling about 50 fighters) arrived in Grozny lately. According to intercepted radio exchanges, the rebels are planning to attract additional forces and capture a district of the city or a town on Grozny's outskirts. 

The new rebel command also planned to destabilize neighboring Ingush autonomous republic. A rebel group of 10 was spotted near Arshty village on 6 May. 

Not all of the rebels are onboard with this plan for renewed combat. A group of 37 fighters (from all parts of Chechnya) surrendered on 4 May and were brought under guard to the village of Tsentoroi, after the head of the Moscow-backed administration promised them amnesty if they were not involved in terror acts.

It was the second largest group of rebels to voluntarily surrender in two years and the secret negotiations had taken several months of secret. The effort was not publicized to prevent possible retaliations by "irreconcilable rebels". - Adam Geibel

The government announced that in the last week, nine soldiers died during operations in Chechnya. At the same time, the government says that military operations in Chechnya are over and that the situation down there is now considered a police operation. Some support troops are also to be withdrawn from Chechnya.



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