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Clashes kill at least five in North Caucasus

Latest update : 2009-08-13

Clashes have killed four rebel fighters and a police officer in Russia's North Caucasus, news reports say. Violence broke out when militants in the Republic of Ingushetia, bordering Chechnya, exchanged fire with Ingush and Chechen security forces.

AFP - Clashes killed four rebel fighters and a police officer on Saturday in Russia's turbulent North Caucasus, news agency RIA Novosti reported.
  
The militants were killed in Ingushetia, a mountainous region that borders war-ravaged Chechnya, during a firefight with Ingush and Chechen security forces.
  
"Ingush and Chechen security forces exchanged fire with a group of militants in mountains in the Sunja region, which borders Chechnya," a police source told the RIA Novosti.
  
"During the shootout, four of the rebel fighters were shot."
  
One of the victims is believed to be Azamat Makhaury, brother of Rustam Makhaury, who is the defence minister of the separatist Chechen government in exile and was arrested several days ago, the source added.
  
Separately in Dagestan, an insurgency-hit region which like Ingushetia is predominantly Muslim, a senior police officer died after gunmen opened fire on his car, a police source told RIA Novosti.
  
"The incident took place in the village of Kirov-Aul. Two gunmen armed with assault rifles shot at a car which contained the village police chief," the source said.
  
Clashes between government forces and Islamist rebels are common in Dagestan and Ingushetia. Both regions border Chechnya, which was the scene of two separatist wars after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.
  
In recent years Chechnya has gained a measure of stability under the strongman rule of its pro-Moscow leader Ramzan Kadyrov, but human rights groups accuse him of using brutal tactics to suppress the rebels.

Date created : 2009-07-11

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