- The Washington Times - Friday, January 4, 2002

Russia claims success in Chechen operation

MOSCOW The Russian military said yesterday it had killed more than 100 rebels in an operation in separatist Chechnya, and that new tactics had tightened the noose around the insurgents.

Interfax news agency, quoting military sources, said servicemen had conducted the operation, which erupted ahead of New Year's celebrations, in four villages in Kurchaloi district, southeast of the devastated regional capital, Grozny.

The agency said several Chechen field commanders had been killed and put Russian losses at two dead and 11 wounded. The rebel Web site kavkaz.org said 40 Russian troops had died.

Colombia sends envoy for talks with rebels

BOGOTA, Colombia After a wave of bloody rebel attacks, President Andres Pastrana's peace envoy flew into guerrilla territory yesterday on a mission to bring Colombia's largest insurgent group into cease-fire talks.

Talks between the two sides have been frozen for months.

Peace commissioner Camilo Gomez was scheduled to meet with leaders of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) in the southern village of Los Pozos yesterday and today.

FARC attacks on six towns over the New Year killed 18 persons.

Brazil prison riot leaves 27 dead

BRASILIA, Brazil A bloody prison riot in a Brazilian Amazon town left 27 inmates dead, as gangs fought with knives and guns after a failed escape attempt, security officials said yesterday.

The rebellion at the Urso Branco prison on the outskirts of the town of Porto Velho started as members of rival gangs were placed in the same pavilion after trying to escape.

The prison authority said 27 bodies had been found. Initial reports said up to 40 inmates may have been killed.

Two Bosnia Serbs likely to surrender

BANJA LUKA, Bosnia Two Bosnian Serb ex-commanders accused of atrocities during the Srebrenica massacre and the Sarajevo siege may surrender to the U.N. War Crimes Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, a Bosnian Serb government aide said yesterday.

Sinisa Djordjevic, adviser on cooperation with the U.N. tribunal, said the Bosnian Serb government had received signals from reliable sources that Vinko Pandurevic and Dragomir Milosevic would give themselves up.

The U.N. tribunal based in The Hague last month said it had charged Mr. Pandurevic with genocide for his purported role in the massacre of up to 8,000 Muslims in Srebrenica when he was a commander in 1995.

The U.N. court in November indicted Mr. Milosevic not related to former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic for crimes against humanity during the 1992-95 siege by separatist Serbian forces of Sarajevo, when nearly 12,000 people died.

Spain arrests 11 after cocaine haul

BARCELONA Spanish authorities arrested 11 persons yesterday and broke up a drug-trafficking operation that had attempted to bring 1,540 pounds of cocaine into Spain, the civil guard said.

The Colombian cocaine was seized from a coal container that arrived in Barcelona from Venezuela in November 2000.

One Spaniard was arrested, but further investigations led to the discovery of other traffickers, believed to be Spaniards with links to a large Colombian drug cartel.

Ship with immigrants arrives in Crete

ATHENS More than 200 illegal immigrants, mostly Iraqi Kurds, whose ship broke down in rough seas arrived safely on a Greek island yesterday, a day after their children were evacuated from the craft by helicopters.

Authorities arrested two crew members and confiscated the 132-foot Aldin Kaptan, Greece's Merchant Marine Ministry said.

The ship lost power in international waters late Tuesday and sent a distress signal. The crew of a British navy survey vessel repaired one engine, and the ship headed for the southern island of Crete.

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