Turk police probe killings of three Chechens, paper

Sun Mar 1, 2009 9:07am EST

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ISTANBUL, March 1 (Reuters) - Turkish police are investigating the killing of three former Chechen rebel commanders in Istanbul in the last six months, Vatan newspaper reported on Sunday. The latest victim, named as Ali Osayev, was shot dead outside his apartment in an Istanbul suburb on Thursday, the Vatan and Sabah newspapers reported.

They said he had fought against Russian forces in the south Russian region of Chechnya during the 1990s and came to Turkey with his family in 2003.

Two other former Chechen rebel commanders were killed in the city in a similar fashion and with a similar weapon in September and December, the papers said.

Istanbul police declined to comment on the reports.

The reports said Istanbul police headquarters had set up a special unit to investigate the killings and that the country's intelligence agency was involved in the investigation.

Vatan said some 500 Chechens were resident in Istanbul under special authorisation from the interior ministry. (Writing by Daren Butler)



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