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DATE=9/10/1999 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=RUSSIA / DAGESTAN (L-ONLY) NUMBER=2-253707 BYLINE=EVE CONANT DATELINE=MOSCOW CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: Russian troops captured one of several villages in Dagestan seized last Sunday by Islamic militants. V-O-A Moscow correspondent Eve Conant reports heavy fighting continues in other villages held by insurgents in Russia's southern Caucasus region. TEXT: Russian forces have regained control of the village of Gamiyakh in western Dagestan, pushing ahead in their efforts to rid the region of Islamic insurgents. Hundreds of gunmen crossed into Dagestan from neighboring Chechnya on Sunday and seized control of several villages. A spokesman for Dagestan's Interior Ministry said the village had been cleared of fighters. He added that a clean-up operation was underway to drive snipers out of nearby mountains. Interior Ministry officials say Russian troops are also making progress in the Karamakhi region, but news agencies report that Russian forces were driven back by the militants. The militants are believed to be well armed and still hold several villages in central and southern Dagestan. Russia's Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin, says the insurgents are supported by international mercenaries. Russian forces have been ordered to rid Dagestan of the militants quickly, but many troops have complained they lack the arms and manpower to do so. On Friday, Prime Minister Putin urged Russians to, as he put it, "not become hysterical" over the Russian military's difficulty in quickly routing the militants. He said government troops were acting "according to plan" to rid southern Russia of the insurgents. (Signed) NEB/EC/GE/JO 10-Sep-1999 14:59 PM EDT (10-Sep-1999 1859 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .





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