Some 100 militant groupings with the total strength of 1,500 to 2,000 fighters are currently operating in the territory of Chechnya, Public Information Office under the Russian President announced on Thursday. The largest militant gangs are those led by international terrorist Hattab (up to 550 fighters), Shamil Basayev (up to 450 fighters) Rizvan Akhmadov (some 200 men), Aslan Maskhadov (up to 150 men), and Salamov (some 100 fighters). The evidence available suggests the gangs may have recourse to reinforcements from outside the country, notably from Georgia and other adjacent states, where as many as 1,000 militants may have massed, the Information Office disclosed. In addition, the illegal armed formations rely on funding and other supplies channelled by Islamic non-governmental organizations abroad and on incomes from illegal oil trade and other illegal businesses in the North Caucasian region for logistics support of their terrorist operations, the presidential Public Information Office said.
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