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Chechen rebel wants to surrender: claim

Nov. 7, 2004 at 9:29 AM

MOSCOW, Nov. 7 (UPI) -- Chechen rebel leader Aslan Maskhadov wants to surrender, a pro-Russian Chechen official said Sunday.

Maskhadov is looking for an opportunity to surrender to the authorities on condition of being offered personal security guarantees, Ramzan Kadyrov, Chechnya's first deputy prime minister, told Interfax by telephone.

"We have serious evidence confirming earlier reports that Maskhadov, directly and indirectly, is trying to establish contacts with a leader of a North Caucasus republic in an attempt to inform the federal authorities through mediators that he is prepared to discuss his surrender," Kadyrov said.

"We have learned that Maskhadov has given appropriate instructions to former deputies of the Ichkerian parliament who, according to our sources, reacted coolly to this idea," he said.

Kadyrov told Interfax that Maskhadov "needs to secure guarantees from Shamil Basayev, as well, since Basayev will never allow him to quit." Basayev was the extremist mastermind behind the massacre of 344 people including more than 150 children at a school in Beslan , North Ossetia in September.

"Maskhadov is afraid of Basayev. However, Basayev needs Maskhadov as a stimulus, whom certain pro-Western figures still describe as 'a legitimate representative,'" Kadyrov said.

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