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Police kill 13 militants in Russia’s North Caucasus

Posted by Kris Roman on July 12, 2009

Thirteen armed men were killed in clashes with police in Russia’s regions of Dagestan and Chechnya on Sunday in the latest outburst of violence in the turbulent North Caucasus, local media and police said.

On Saturday, security forces in the nearby region of Ingushetia killed four militants, including a rebel leader. The shooting in Dagestan broke out near the town of Khasavyurt after policemen tried to stop a car without number plates.

The five passengers in the car fired on the police, Vesti-24 channel said. “The police returned fire, killing all five in the car,” it said. “Three rebels have already been identified.”

Relative calm has been restored in neighbouring Chechnya where federal troops have fought two wars against pro-independence rebels since the mid-1990s. But underscoring how fragile Chechnya’s stability is, clashes between armed men and police erupted on Sunday in two rural districts and the Chechen capital of Grozny.

Eight militants carrying automatic weapons were killed in the shooting, Chechnya’s interior ministry said on its site www.mvdchr.ru. It did not say if there were losses among police.

“Prompt actions are now being taken to track down and detain members of illegal armed units and their collaborators,” Chechen police said in the statement.

From Chechnya, violence regularly spills over into the mainly Muslim regions of Ingushetia and Dagestan where tough officialdom, deep-rooted corruption and poverty push many young people to join the rebels.

Earlier this month nine Chechen policemen were gunned down in Ingushetia in one of the deadliest attacks in the volatile North Caucasus region in recent years. [ID:nL4321105]

They had been sent by Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov after a suicide bomb attack against Ingush leader Yunus-Bek Yevkurov, who is now in a Moscow hospital in serious condition. (Reporting by Dmitry Solovyov; Editing by Richard Balmforth)

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