April 30, 1996 in Nation/World

Chechnya Leader’s Fate Uncertain

Compiled From Wire Services

Only a week after the Russians killed Chechnya’s separatist leader, Dzhokhar Dudayev, reports surfaced Monday that his successor has died at the hands of rebel comrades.

None of the sometimes conflicting reports about the death of Zelimkhan Yandarbiyev could be confirmed. None quoted rebel sources, nor did they offer details of his death.

There were several denials, including one late Monday night from Yusup Soslanbekov, chairman of the Confederation of Caucasus People, a group often accused by Moscow of promoting regional separatism.

“All the rumors around the death of Zelimkhan Yandarbiyev and a split among the field commanders have no basis whatsoever,” Soslanbekov told the Interfax news agency. “Yandarbiyev is alive and well.”

The first and most extensive reports came from ITAR-Tass, the official Russian news agency.

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