A historic festival organised to encourage peace in the troubled Russian province of Chechnya has been cancelled because of security concerns.

Eight of Russia's leading rock bands were booked to play the Phoenix - Rebirth event at an undisclosed location in the city of Gudermes tomorrow (05JUL05) - but the event has been abandoned at short notice because local police admit they cannot guarantee security.

Around 20,000 fans were expected to attend the musical extravaganza - whose venue was kept a secret to aid security - which Russian television networks planned to broadcast.

Several of the acts booked to perform raised concerns over security in the wake of a 2003 bomb attack on a rock festival in Moscow which left 16 people dead. Chechen rebels, who have been waging a guerilla war in the troubled province for five years, were blamed by Russian authorities.

04/07/2005 02:09