The bodies of seventeen Chechens were reportedly discovered on April 10 in the basement of a police building in Grozny, Chechnya’s capital (which Chechen rebels call Djohar). The victims, all middle-aged males, were apparently killed six months ago. Mayor Bislan Gantamirov, part of the Russian administration, claimed in an interview that the victims were civilians killed by Russian Interior Ministry troops. He said more mass graves may be found at the site. Russia’s presidential representative in the region later denied the story, saying military and civilian law-enforcement authorities had told him there are no bodies at the site.

Chechen rebels are also killing Chechens, aiming at persons believed to be collaborating with the Russian administration. Insurgent guerrillas killed five Chechen civilians in the village of Kulary, including the son of the head of the local administration and the deputy administrator. Adam Deniev, a prominent leader in the Russian-backed government, died while reading the Koran in a live television broadcast. Rebels had planted a bomb in the studio.