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The Chechen leadership is negotiating with militants in an attempt to bring them back into civilian life
The Chechen leadership is negotiating with militants in an attempt to bring them back into civilian life, the prime minister of the North Caucasus republic said Wednesday. "This is useful and very effective, because returning them to peaceful life is better than fighting," Ramzan Kadyrov said in an interview with government daily Rossiiskaya Gazeta. He said many militants were still following ideas popular in the mid-1990s, when the first Chechen campaign began. "We explain to them that the situation has radically changed, and guarantee [their] life and immunity if their hands are not smeared with blood," he said. "If people do not understand [this], we will fight them, and this is legal according to our customs." Kadyrov said a search for militant leaders was underway in mountainous areas, but added that this should not be confused with zachistki - operations the Army says flush out militants hiding among the local population, but that rights activists say have led to the disappearance and possible murder of hundreds of people. He added that he needed help of Chechen people to detain militant leaders. Chechens are now willing to cooperate with local law-enforcement bodies, Kadyrov said, which have good links with federal bodies and special services. Kadryov also said warlords Shamil Basayev and Aslan Maskhadov had masterminded the murder of his father, first Chechen President Akhmad Kadyrov, and the terrorist attack on a school in Beslan. "No one can win freedom and independence by these methods. People such as Maskhadov and Basayev make everyone think that Islam is a bloodthirsty religion," Kadyrov said. Ramzan Kadyrov took over from previous Chechen Prime Minister Sergei Abramov, who was injured in a car accident in November last year and announced his resignation February 28. Akhmad Kadyrov, who fought against federal forces in the first Chechen campaign but later condemned radicalism and sided with the Kremlin, was assassinated in May 2004 during Victory Day celebrations in Grozny.
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