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Chechen Official Says Wanted Separatist is Preparing Surrender


A top pro-Kremlin official in Chechnya says a wanted separatist leader is preparing to turn himself in to authorities.

Deputy Prime Minister Ramzan Kadyrov says law enforcement agencies in Chechnya have information that Aslan Maskhadov is trying to make contact with federal officials to discuss disarming and surrendering.

An official with Russia's top security forces said he could not confirm or deny the announcement.

The wanted separatist was elected president of Chechnya in 1997 after separatists and Russia signed an agreement ending two years of fighting. But Russian forces swept into the region in 1999 and forced him out of power in a second war.

Russian authorities accuse Mr. Maskhadov of a role in the three-day school siege in Beslan that killed more than 330 people. He has denied the charge.

Russia is also offering a $10 million reward for his capture.

Information for this story provided by AP.

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