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Large arms cache found near Chechen capital

GROZNY, September 2 (RIA Novosti) - Police have found a large weapons cache containing 200 kg (440 lbs) of explosives in the suburbs of the Chechen capital, Grozny, a law enforcement source said Saturday.

The source said the cache located in an abandoned building contained six hand-made pipe-shaped bombs filled with TNT. In addition, the police have discovered seven artillery shells, 11 grenade-launcher rounds, a carbine, an assault rifle, 13 hand grenades, fuses, small arms ammunition and six sleeping bags.

Operatives have destroyed the ammunition on site and launched a search for possible suspects.

The source also said three more former militants, all residents of Achkhoy-Martan district in central Chechnya, had given themselves up over the last 24 hours.

As of August 31, over 170 former militants in the North Caucasus republic had laid down their arms in a campaign started to give them the chance to surrender after Russia's terrorist number one, Shamil Basayev, who claimed responsibility for the 2004 Beslan school massacre and other atrocities, was killed on July 10.

Russia's National Anti-Terror Committee extended the term for the voluntary surrender for militants in the North Caucasus until September 30. Chechnya's president, Alu Alkhanov, has requested that the federal authorities extend the amnesty deadline until January 1.

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