A suspected militant was killed in Chechnya when police encountered a group of over 10 gunmen in the Caucasus republic's Shali district, a police official said on Monday.
The shootout occurred on Sunday in a mountainous wooded area, the police source said.
"The gunmen opened fire, one of them was killed when police returned fire, the others fled," he said, adding that no police were injured in the attack.
The gunman is being identified, the official said.
Attacks on police and other officials have been reported almost daily as fighting has resurged in Chechnya, which saw two brutal separatist conflicts in the 1990s and early 2000s. Violence has also spiraled in neighboring regions of Russia's mainly Muslim North Caucasus.
MOSCOW, November 23 (RIA Novosti)
The Moscow Times: Militant Killed in Dagestan
23 November 2009
MAKHACHKALA, Dagestan — A police official said Sunday that a suspected militant was killed while trying to set up an explosive device on a highway in the Buinaksk district of Dagestan.
Regional police spokesman Mark Tolchinsky said police shot the militant late Saturday. He also said a police officer lost a hand after an explosion Sunday in the regional capital, Makhachkala.
Tolchinsky said the officer tried to remove a beer can stuffed with explosives from the hood of his car.
Reuters: FACTBOX-Five facts on Ingush president Yevkurov
Sun Nov 22, 2009 3:25pm EST
Nov 22 (Reuters) - Yunus-Bek Yevkurov, the head of Russia's turbulent Ingushetia region, told Reuters in an interview on Sunday that corruption amongst officials was plaguing his small republic and aiding an Islamist insurgency.
In June a suicide bomb attack left him fighting for his life, but he has since recovered.
Following are key facts on the 46-year-old ex-paratrooper:
* Yevkurov, an ethnic Ingush, was born in 1963 in the neighbouring Russian republic of North Ossetia. A career soldier who rose to the rank of general, he graduated from the elite Ryazan Airborne Forces Academy. He was named a Hero of Russia for leading the audacious 1999 Russian operation to seize Pristina airport from under the noses of NATO forces advancing into Kosovo.
* Yevkurov asked senior commanders not to send him into action when the Kremlin was fighting rebels in neighbouring Chechnya, ethnically close to Ingushetia.
* Yevkurov has been trying to clamp down on official corruption and poverty, blamed for driving young people into the arms of Islamist rebels.
* In 1992, Yevkurov's home village in North Ossetia was embroiled in battles between the mainly Ingush residents and local North Ossetians, over land that Soviet dictator Josef Stalin transferred to North Ossetia in 1944. Tens of thousands of Ingush fled North Ossetia, and their demand to return home has bedevilled relations between the neighbouring republics and proven a major challenge to Yevkurov's presidency.
* Human rights groups say they have found Yevkurov to be straightforward to deal with and sincere in his efforts to rein in abuses by security forces. Yevkurov has also been widely praised for his success in reconciling dozens of local clans involved in bloody feuds. (Writing by Dmitry Solovyov and Amie Ferris-Rotman; Editing by Kevin Liffey) (( For an interview with Yevkurov, click on [ID:nGEE5AL09K]
For a factbox on Ingushetia, click on [ID:nGEE5AL0BM] ((firstname.lastname@example.org, +7 495 775 12 42, Reuters Messaging: email@example.com))
Reuters: FACTBOX-Key facts about Russia's region of Ingushetia
Sun Nov 22, 2009 3:50pm EST
Nov 22 (Reuters) - The tiny republic of Ingushetia is at the heart of mounting violence across the North Caucasus, on Russia's southern fringe. Its leader told Reuters on Sunday that widespread state corruption was fuelling an Islamist insurgency.
Following are key facts about the region:
Ingushetia is the smallest and poorest region in Russia, wedged between North Ossetia and Chechnya. The unemployment rate was estimated in March 2009 at over 50 percent. Over 90 percent of Ingushetia's revenue comes in subsidies from Moscow.
Desperate poverty and widespread corruption are at the very least a factor in fuelling an insurgency that is nominally about establishing Islamic rule.
Russian and Ingush officials say publicly that corruption has reached shocking levels, opening a gulf between the region's ruling class and its population of around half a million.
Ingush president Yunus-Bek Yevkurov came to power with Moscow's support last year to replace ex-KGB general Murat Zyazikov, appointed in 2002 with the backing of Vladimir Putin, then Russia's president.
Promising to tackle corruption, Yevkurov promptly sacked his entire government. He was almost killed in a suicide bomb attack in June. After recovering, the former paratrooper promised to wage a merciless war against terrorism and appealed to militants to lay down their arms. He has also proposed a poverty reduction programme, financed by Moscow, in a bid to curb discontent.
Russian special forces have been fighting rebels in Ingushetia since 2002.
Around 90 people died in a rebel attack on the city of Nazran in 2004. Last August, a suicide bomber killed 25 people and wounded over 100 at a police headquarters in Nazran, the bloodiest attack to hit the North Caucasus since 2005.
The Soviet Union lumped ethnically close Ingushetia and Chechnya together. But after its collapse in 1991, Chechnya declared independence and Ingushetia chose to become a republic within Russia.
Relations with neighbouring North Ossetia are strained. Paramilitary groups fought a brief war in 1992 over a disputed district. Hundreds died and thousands became refugees.
Ingushetia's president from 1992 to 2001, Ruslan Aushev, steered it away from the conflict in Chechnya, where rebels fought federal forces in two wars from 1994.
During the second Chechen war, which began in 1999, Ingushetia was the destination for thousands of Chechen refugees.
* Ingushetia is one of 21 republics within Russia and has nominal autonomy with its own president, parliament and constitution. Its main religion is Sufi Islam.
(Writing by Moscow bureau; Editing by Dominic Evans and Kevin Liffey) (( For an interview with Yevkurov, click on [ID:nGEE5AL09K]
For a FACTBOX on Yevkurov, click on [ID:nGEE5AL0BK] ((Moscow bureau, +7 495 775 1242))