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on Sep 21st 2000, 20:34:01, Newsman wrote the following about


Seven people 'held hostage' in Russian resort

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russian news agencies are reporting that an unidentified group have taken seven people hostage demanding a ransom and freedom for Chechen prisoners held in Russian jails.

The Emergencies Ministry was quoted as saying that a group of four seized the seven hostages in the Black Sea resort of Sochi.

Itar-Tass news agency carried a similar report quoting Interior Ministry sources.

Spokesmen at the FSB domestic security service and the Emergencies Ministry said they had no information.

Interfax said the four hostage-takers were local construction workers and were holding their captives in a hotel building under construction in Sochi's Lazarevsky district.

Russian troops launched a wide-scale military campaign in the breakaway Russian province of Chechnya last year. The West and Russian human rights campaigners say the Chechen war has been marked by human rights violations, including illegal imprisonment.

The Russian government denies this and accuses rebel leaders of staging a series of terror attacks in the past year, including apartment block blasts in which nearly 300 people died. The rebels say they did not plant the bombs.

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