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Russia Says Top Chechen Commander Killed In Daghestan

30 January 2006 -- Russian authorities claim a top Chechen separatist field commander was killed today during a security operation in the southern republic of Daghestan.

Russian news agencies quote an unnamed spokesperson for the Russian Interior Ministry as saying Lechi Eskiyev was killed in the western Daghestani town of Khasavyurt, near the border with Chechnya. Eskiyev is being identified as "the commander of the Northern Front of the Army of Ichkeria."

The Russian Interior Ministry says today's fighting claimed the lives of at least another two armed militants.

Chechnya's pro-independence Kavkaz Center information website says the separatist military leadership could not immediately confirm the Russian claims.

(RIA Novosti, Interfax, ITAR-TASS, Kavkaz-Center)

Copyright (c) 2006. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036. www.rferl.org

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