Four Russian troops, 2 cops killed in Chechnya
* 150 detained for aiding rebels
VLADIKAVKAZ (Russia): Four Russian servicemen and two Russian police officers were killed in attacks and land mine explosions in rebel Chechnya over the past day, an official in the Moscow-backed Chechen administration said Sunday.
Two soldiers died and eight were injured when Russian positions came under rebel fire, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Another two soldiers were killed and three injured when their armoured personnel carrier hit a mine near Roshnichu in the Urus-Martan region.
Another truck hit a mine near Argun, killing two police officers and wounding eight, the Chechen official said.
Russia shelled suspected rebel positions in the Itum-Kale and Shali regions, and federal forces detained 150 people for further checks on suspicion of aiding the rebels, the Chechen official said.
Much of the nearly five-year war — the second in Chechnya in the past decade — has been a daily repetition of the pattern of small hit-and-run rebel attacks and Russian air and artillery attacks on suspected rebel positions.
Neither side has made significant headway. Russian forces have firm control of Chechnya’s northern flatlands but have been unable to uproot rebel fighters from the southern mountains or drive them out of the capital.
The current war began in September 1999 after Chechen fighters made incursions into neighboring Dagestan and after some 300 people were killed in apartment bombings that officials blamed on the separatists.
Russian forces had withdrawn from Chechnya in 1996 after rebels fought them to a standstill in a 20-month war.
The withdrawal left Chechnya de-facto independent and it fell into widespread lawlessness. ap