One of the leaders of the Chechen separatists Aslan Maskhadov is at present on the territory of Chechnya, Nikolai Rogozhkin, first deputy commander-in-chief of the federal interior troops, told reporters on Thursday.
"I believe that Maskhadov is now on the territory of the republic but I cannot specify his whereabouts," Rogozhkin said.
In his words, a special operation which is now being conducted on the territory of Chechnya's three districts has yielded certain results. "A number of militants including those who were close to notorious warlords were either apprehended or destroyed," Rogozhkin said. He refused to call the names of the militants saying that this information will be disclosed following the procedures of identification and compiling the relevant lists.
Earlier a source in the interior ministry of Chechnya told RIA Novosti that the law enforcement bodies had received information that Aslan Maskhadov was in one of the bandit groups which was blockaded as a result of the current special operation in Chechnya. However, the Agency's interlocutor said that Aslan Maskhadov subsequently managed to escape and hide on the territory of Daghestan (a North Caucasian Republic neighbouring on Chechnya). The interior ministry of Daghestan rules out such a possibility.