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Russia Says Rebels Kill U.N. Observer

Compiled From Wire Services

Tajik rebels killed a United Nations observer they had been holding hostage in a grisly campaign to secure the release of fellow insurgents, Russian news organizations reported Thursday.

The Tajik gunmen, who are under the command of Bakhrom Sodirov, have been holding 14 hostages, including U.N. military observers, U.N. refugee officials and several Russian reporters. But U.N. officials said Thursday evening that they had not been able to confirm the report and suggested that it might be a ruse.

Still, the reported death of the U.N. observer points to the growing danger for international aid workers, who have increasingly been targeted by rebel fighters, terrorists and warlords desperate for world attention.

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