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Chechnya's Kadyrov denies conflict with Vostok battalion

GROZNY, April 21 (RIA Novosti) - Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov said Monday he has no conflict with the Defense Ministry's special Vostok battalion, but is still concerned about some of its military leaders.

"I only have questions for certain 'criminals,' who are part of the battalion... As president I have summoned law enforcement heads and asked them why the Vostok battalion is 'commanded' by Badrudi Yamadayev - a man who should be in jail, but instead is walking around armed to the teeth and committing further crimes," Kadyrov said.

Badrudi Yamadayev, the younger brother of the commander of the Vostok battalion in Chechnya, Sulim Yamadayev, was sentenced in 2003 to 11 years in prison for attempted murder, but was later released on parole. He is currently wanted by law enforcement bodies.

Yamadayev received a prison sentence for the attempted murder of Moscow's deputy chief sanitarian Alexander Melnikov in June 2000. Melnikov was shot, but survived.

The search for Yamadayev began last week after he was suspected of being behind an alleged shootout in Chechnya April 14, involving security convoys of President Kadyrov and Vostok battalion's Commander Sulim Yamadayev.

Two rival columns of vehicles crashed last Monday on a highway in Gudermes after refusing to give way to each other. However, the Russian Defense Ministry officially denied last Wednesday that a shootout between the rivals had occurred.

Last week Kadyrov accused the Yamadayev brothers of a number of crimes and demanded that they be brought to justice.

"The Yamadayev brothers are linked to a number of serious crimes, including murders and abductions, as well as the events in the Borozdinovskaya [village]," Kadyrov said.

Vostok battalion troops conducted a special military operation in the Borozdinovskaya village in the summer of 2005. Four houses were burnt down, 11 people disappeared and a 77-year-old man died as a result of the operation.

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