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Chechen woman abducted looking for missing daughter

By Staff
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GROZNY, Russia, Oct 13 (Reuters) The mother of a missing Russian women reported to be the widow of Chechen warlord Shamil Basayev has herself been abducted, a police detective investigating the case said.

Elina Ersenoyeva has been missing since August 17 when armed men bundled her into a car in Chechnya's capital. Media quoted her family as saying she was in an arranged marriage with Basayev, Russia's most wanted man who died one month earlier.

Her mother Margarita was on her way to meet someone who said they had information about Elina when she too was abducted, police detective Tamirlan Aidamarov said yesterday.

''What we know is that on October 2, the mother of the abducted Elina Ersenoyeva ... was telephoned by someone who suggested a meeting and said they had interesting information about her daughter.'' ''Her relatives say she set off for the (meeting) place where she was abducted,'' Aidamarov said.

People regularly go missing in Chechnya, a mainly Muslim region in southern Russia that has been the scene of a decade-long conflict between Russian forces and anti-Moscow insurgents.

Human rights groups say local militias allied to Moscow are behind many of the abductions. The militias say they operate within the law and only detain criminals.

Basayev said he masterminded the 2004 Beslan siege in which pro-Chechen gunman stormed a school. More than 300 people -- half of them children -- died.

He was blown up in July, apparently when his men were moving a consignment of explosives in southern Russia.

Some media reports have said whoever abducted Elina Ersenoyeva, 26, was trying to gain access to 7 million dollars that she was keeping on Basayev's behalf. Her family denies she had any of Basayev's money.

Reuters BDP GC0852

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