THE two-year-old son of a lecturer at the Chechen State University, and his mother, a lecturer at the Grozny Institute of Oil Technology, are among the latest victims of kidnapping in Chechenia.
According to the Chechen interior ministry, Valentina Sdobnova and her son were bundled into a car by armed men while walking near their home.
A search has been launched by a special police unit set up to combat kidnapping, hostage-taking and other serious crimes.
Raykom Dadashev, rector of the Chechen State University, says he has been assured "from the highest levels" that several hundred people are involved in the search.
Kidnappings, particularly of journalists, are a frequent feature of the Chechen conflict, but the seizure of Ms Sdobnova's son and a five-year-old boy five days earlier may mark a change in tactics.