Chechen PM gets food poisoning

Chechnya's Moscow-appointed prime minister, Anatoly Popov, fell seriously ill after suffering acute food poisoning at a banquet in the war-ravaged Russian republic.

    As many as 10,000 Russian soldiers have died in the restive province

    Popov was rushed to hospital early Sunday, Interfax reported.

    He contracted food poisoning during a meal in the eastern Chechen town of Gudermes, a week before Chechnya's Kremlin-sponsored presidential elections are scheduled to take place.
      
    Doctors confirmed Popov was “poisoned by a poison of unknown origin,” AFP reported. Interfax reported earlier that the possibility of an assassination attempt has yet to be ruled out.

    Acting chief

    Popov last month took on the duty of acting head of Chechnya's pro-Russian administration, as Kadyrov, head of the region’s administration, is running for the office of Chechen president on 5 October.

    Kadyrov, who is supported by Russia, is widely expected to be elected after other likely candidates were either barred from running or otherwise removed.
      
    Russia poured troops into Chechnya on October 1, 1999 to suppress a separatist insurgency. Up to 80,000 federal troops are stationed in the southern republic.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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