Chechen rebels show video of raid into Ingushetia

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The Independent Online

A Chechen rebel website published rare video footage yesterday of what it described as a raid last month led by Russia's most wanted separatist on a Russian arms depot.

A Chechen rebel website published rare video footage yesterday of what it described as a raid last month led by Russia's most wanted separatist on a Russian arms depot.

The site showed a bearded man it identified as Shamil Basayev, the head of a Chechen faction who has been fighting Russian forces for a decade. He is the most prominent rebel leader after the fugitive president Aslan Maskhadov, who said this month that Basayev was operating outside the separatists' "official structures". More than 90 people were killed on 22 June when gunmen rampaged through Nazran, the main centre of Ingushetia, a region west of Chechnya with a population closely related to Chechens. The website showed what it described as an episode of the Ingushetia raid it said was led by Basayev. "I express my gratitude to the leadership of Ingushetia for preserving arms and ammunition for us in good condition," said the man in the film, bearded and looking very much like Basayev. "We have collected what they had seized from us this year." He said rebels had seized 700 Kalashnikov assault rifles, 80 pistols and a million rounds of ammunition during the raid.

The man, in combat gear, was seen issuing orders to gunmen in a large room and demonstrating firearms. He was, however, quite agile in his movements. Basayev had a foot amputated while leading fighters against the Russians in 2000.

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