99 servicemen of Interior Troops killed in Chechnya in 2002

The Interior Troops of the Interior Ministry of Russia have lost 99 peoplein Chechnya since the beginning of this year. Interior TroopsCommander-in-Chief Vyacheslav Tikhomirov announced this information at anews briefing today. He added that the Interior Troops' losses haddecreased by 2.5 times this year compared to the 2001 level. At the sametime according to him, the efficiency of operations by the Interior Troopsintended to discover bands and detain members of illegal armed groups haddoubled. Additionally, Tikhomirov reported that the number of criminal actionsagainst federal forces committed by militants had reduced by 1.5-2 times.At the same time Tikhomirov underscored that the activity of militants inChechnya had increased in August. In the commander-in-chief's opinion, thisis due to the money received by militants from their sponsors."Unfortunately, we have so far been unable to block all channels offinancing militants," Tikhomirov pointed out. He added that a meeting ofheads of law enforcement agencies had been held in the headquarters of theUnified Federal Forces to work out a strategy of reducing the activity ofbands. .