Chechens 'Seize Second Village'
Chechen fighters are reported to have taken at least eight hostages, a day after seizing at least four captives. The rebels attacked the village of Galatli in the Russian republic of Dagestan overnight, officials say. Viktor Tsitsvera, a local security official, told the Russian news agency Itar-Tass the village had been surrounded by border guards and police. Russia’s current war in Chechnya began after fighters seized two villages in Dagestan in August 1999. They held the villages for several weeks, saying they were supporting a declaration of an independent Islamic state in parts of Dagestan and Chechnya. That incursion – as well as a series of bombings of apartment buildings in Russia that killed about 300 people – prompted then-Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to send troops into Chechnya. Four years later, Moscow says it has pacified the rebellious republic, but fighting continues and Chechens may be behind Russia’s now regular suicide bombings. Full Story