Chechen official abducted

The administrative head of the Chechen town of Alkhan-Kala has been abducted even as security forces found the bodies of four teenagers abducted 11 days ago.

    The security situation in Chechnya is dire

    The pro-Russian Chechen interior ministry said that

     Nourdi Elmourzayev, 50, was traveling alone in his car on Tuesday night when he was stopped at gunpoint by armed men and taken away.

    Alkhan-Kala, a town of about 20,000 people southwest of the capital Grozny, has been the site of frequent clashes between Chechen rebels and government forces.

    And the four teenagers, who were abducted by masked and uniformed men on 30 November, had been tortured and shot, interior ministry officials said.

    Police officer killed 

    The ministry added that a police officer was killed and three others were injured when their automobile came under fire in Goudermes.

    Meanwhile, t

    he European Commission has expressed deep

    concern at the planned closure of a camp for Chechen

    refugees in Ingushetia.

    "I am deeply concerned by the closure of yet another camp in

    Ingushetia, especially during the harsh Caucasian winter"

    Poul Nielson,
    EU aid commissioner

    "I am deeply concerned by the closure of yet another camp in

    Ingushetia, especially during the harsh Caucasian winter," said EU

    aid commissioner Poul Nielson on Wednesday, referring to the "imminent" closure

    of the Alina camp.

    Forced return

    "It is the third camp to be closed in Ingushetia in 12

    months, in addition to the closure of a camp in Chechnya last year,"

    he said.

    Nielson added that Chechen refugees had the right to "protection

    and assistance" in Ingushetia.

    The European Commission is the main donor

    of humanitarian aid to the victims of the conflict in Chechnya, with

    more than $145 million allocated since

    the beginning of the second conflict there.

    The EU executive's aid branch has spent at least $180,000

    for infrastructure at the Alina camp, as well as funding the

    distribution of food, hygiene items, bed items and firewood for the

    winter.

    However, the president of Ingushetia, Murat Zyazikov, last month denied

    that Chechen refugees were being forced out of tent camps in his

    republic on war-torn Chechnya's western border.

    SOURCE: AFP


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