Activity of Chechen Bandit Units Drops

The activity of illegal armed units in Chechnya has dropped-bandit leaders are busy organising rallies and other acts of disobedience to frustrate referendum plans, believes Colonel Ilya Shabalkin, a representative of the regional operational headquarters for co-ordinating the counter-terrorist operation in the North Caucasus.

They are also distributing leaflets and videotapes threatening the staff of electoral commissions and people who wish to attend the referendum, he said.

The population of Chechnya, on its part, has been retaliating against bandit sorties. Leaflets distributed in the republic's Gudermes district, for instance, called on the locals to boycott the referendum and contained threats to those of the Chechens that advocate the adoption of a Constitution. "But the inhabitants of the village collected all the leaflets and burnt them publicly, thus expressing their attitude towards such printed matter," said the colonel.

In the meantime, the federal forces and the police are busy carrying out routine measures to suppress the activity of bandit groups.