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546 militants have accepted the surrender offer since its announcement in Chechnya
A total of 546 militants have accepted the surrender offer since its announcement, the National Antiterrorism Committee said in a news release Monday. A partial amnesty for militants and servicemen not involved in major atrocities during Russia's antiterrorism campaign in the North Caucasus was announced by Russian authorities July 15, 2006, following the killing of the region's most sought after terrorist, Shamil Basayev. The amnesty expires January 15. The committee, headed by Nikolai Patrushev, head of Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB), said four of those who surrendered, mainly in Chechnya, were on the federal wanted list, and about 200 were involved in terrorist attacks. The committee said that three women were being prepared by warlords for suicide bombings. The amnesty was initially good until August 1, but the deadline was eventually extended until January 15. The law took effect in September 2006. Proposed by President Vladimir Putin, it is part of the Kremlin's offer of fair treatment for militants who agree to lay down their arms. However, the amnesty does not extend to those guilty of grave crimes, including hostage-taking and terrorist attacks, or foreigners and stateless persons. Although the active phase of the North Caucasus antiterrorism campaign officially ended in 2001, periodic bombings and clashes between gunmen and federal troops still disrupt Chechnya and nearby regions, including Dagestan, Ingushetia, Kabardino-Balkaria, and Karachayevo-Circassia. The commander of Russia's Joint Forces in the North Caucasus, Colonel General Yevgeny Baryayev, earlier said about 700 gunmen continue to operate in Chechnya and neighboring regions.
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