World Briefs

January 23, 1996
Web posted at: 3:00 p.m. EST (2000 GMT)

Chechen rebel leader still defiant; hostage release delayed

Salman Raduyev

NOVOGROZNENSKY, Russia (CNN) -- A Chechen rebel commander who escaped from the beseiged village of Pervomaiskaya said rebels were "ready to fight for 10 years if we have to" against Moscow's troops. And he vowed Chechnya never would submit to Russian rule.

Salman Raduyev made the comments Tuesday as Chechen rebels delayed plans to free about 40 civilian captives. Raduyev led a band of more than 200 fighters in a cross-border raid that began January 9 in Kizlyar in Russia's Dagestan region. The rebels later fled to Pervomaiskaya where they were surrounded, then bombarded by Russian troops.

Raduyev, who said he suffered a mild concussion in the fighting, said he freed a 14-year-old boy. The Moscow Times reported that many of about 60 remaining hostages were with Raduyev in his mountain hideout; some were staying in an underground bunker.

The rebels agreed Tuesday to free the civilian hostages in exchange for the bodies of Chechen fighters killed in Dagestan. The rebels previously had said the captives would be released unconditionally.

But Russia was still trying to identify the dead rebels and was not ready to hand over the bodies, the Interfax news agency reported. It was unclear when an exchange might take place. The rebels insisted that the remaining hostages -- reported to be 12 Russian soldiers and six police officers -- were prisoners of war and would only be swapped for Chechen fighters held by the Russians.

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Chinese officials holding supporter
of orphanage critic, group says

SHANGHAI, China (CNN) -- Chinese authorities were detaining a Shanghai man in an attempt to silence critics who say Chinese orphans are abused, a New York-based human rights group said Tuesday.

Xu Xinyuan was part of a group that investigated the allegations of abuse at a Shanghai orphanage, members of Human Rights Watch/Asia said.

"Xu...has been held in investigative detention since mid-November in an apparent effort to silence or intimidate supporters of Zhang Shuyun remaining in Shanghai," the group said.

Zhang's testimony on the Shanghai orphanage is part of the basis of a report issued this month by the human rights organization charging widespread and systematic abuses in orphanages across China. She now lives in the United States. No charges have been filed against Xu, the group said.

The Human Rights Watch/Asia report, "Death by Default," says state orphanages allowed thousands of babies -- many of them unwanted baby girls -- to die from medical neglect and starvation. It backed its charges with official data from the late 1980s and early 1990s. Chinese officials have denied the charges and accused Zhang Shuyun of lying.

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