Suspect detained in Red Cross killings in Chechnya

Russian forces have detained a suspect in the 1996 slaughter of six Red Cross workers in Chechnya, a news agency reported Tuesday, citing the regional branch of the Russian Interior Ministry.

In one of the bloodiest attacks against the Red Cross in its 142-year history, masked gunmen forced their way into a Red Cross hospital in Chechnya on December 17, 1996, and went room to room, using guns with silencers to kill four nurses and two other workers as they slept.

Adam Dzhabrailov, 30-year-old, was detained in a security sweep in his home village of Mesker-Yurt on suspicion of involvement in the killings, the Interfax news agency reported citing an unnamed official.

As many as 15 attackers participated in the raid on the Red Cross hospital in Noviye Atagi, a village 24 kilometers (15 miles) south of Grozny, the Chechen capital. Those killed were five women and one man. The victims were from the Netherlands, Spain, Canada, New Zealand and Norway.

The International Committee of the Red Cross immediately suspended all operations in the southern republic, where a truce had been in place since August 1996 following the end of a 20-month war between Russian forces and Chechen rebels.

The small republic was shaken by kidnappings and murders of foreigners during its brief period of de facto independence that lasted until October 1999, when Russian forces poured back into Chechnya.

Moscow has succeeded in re-establishing a tenuous control over the rebellious territory but its troops and their pro-Russian Chechen militia allies face daily attacks by rebels holed up in the southern mountains.

Associated Press

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