Official: 400 police killed over 5 years in a single Russian southern province

Sunday, October 3, 2010

400 police killed in 5 years in Russian province

MOSCOW — More than 400 police officers and other law enforcement agents have been killed by militants over the past five years in just one of Russia’s restive southern provinces, its leader says.

Yunus-Bek Yevkurov, the president of the province of Ingushetia west of Chechnya, said at a rally Saturday that more than 3,000 civilians have been wounded in attacks by militants in the region over the same period, a statement on his administration’s official website said Sunday.

Yevkurov himself was badly wounded by a suicide bombing of his convoy in June 2009.

Ingushetia and other provinces in Russia’s restive North Caucasus region have been plagued by Islamic militant attacks, which spread across the region after two separatist wars in neighboring Chechnya. Rights groups say that police abuses against civilians have fueled violence.

In another volatile Caucasus province, Dagestan, a police officer was killed late Saturday when unidentified gunmen shot him from a passing car, regional police spokesman Vyacheslav Gasanov said Sunday.

And on Sunday, a passenger jet flying from Moscow to Chechnya’s provincial capital, Grozny, was diverted after an anonymous caller claimed it had an explosive device on board, Russian news agencies reported.

The Yak-42 plane landed safely in Volgograd, a southern city on the Volgra River, its 73 passengers were evacuated and the authorities checked the plane for explosives but found none, the local branch of Russia’s Federal Security Service said in a statement carried by Russian newswires.

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