Chechen Police Searching for Militants Shortly Before Referendum - 6 March, 2003

Shortly before the referendum the Chechen police are intensively searching for persons involved in illegal armed formations, official representative of the main criminal investigation department of the criminal police service at the Russian interior ministry Khurshet Numanov said on Thursday on Militseiskaya Volna radio station.

According to him, this is being done to prevent militants' illegal actions during the preparation for and holding of the referendum. Numanov reported that now all the efforts of Chechen police officers and their sub-units are aimed precisely at achieving this goal.

Numanov also added that in addition to operative arrangements, explanatory work is being conducted with the population so that people reported to police officers in case they are threatened or pressurized by militants who try to frustrate the referendum.

The entire complex of preventive measures is being conducted in close collaboration with the administration of head of the Chechen republic Akhmad Kadyrov and security agencies. In addition, according to Numanov, the police officers will take part in guarding and ensuring law and order at election precincts during the referendum.