Chechen Leaders Back From The Dead?

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MOSCOW: Two Chechen leaders previously reported dead, now appear to be alive and are rallying to resume their leadership roles among the rebels. A man identifying himself as the Chechen commander Salman Raduyev said Thursday that rebels were responsible for two recent bus bombings in Moscow and that he planned to carry out another, unspecified order from top rebel leader Dzhokar Dudayev. Russian officials had reported both men killed in fighting last spring, but their bodies were never found. While the man identifying himself as Raduyev looked very different, he attributed his changed appearance to plastic surgery following extensive face wounds caused by shots from Russian troops. "Many people had speculated that Raduyev and Dudayev were still alive," reports TIME's Yuri Zarakhovich. "Ironically, their return may actually hurt the rebel movement, because it shows a split in leadership. Raduyev has gone against the official Chechen leaders by taking credit for the bombings and refusing to negotiate with the Russians." The Russians will definitely try to kill Raduyev again, adds Zarakhovich, because they were embarrassed by his seizure of a Russian town in January. The incident set off fighting in the region and led to dozens of deaths. -->