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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Annals of "Pacified" Chechnya

The Associated Press reports:

A group of militants opened fire on a convoy of security officers in Chechnya on Monday, killing three and injuring five, a local interior ministry official said. The unit of border guards were attacked in their cars on a road in a central district of the republic, the official said, on condition of anonymity because he was not allowed to speak to the media. The officers, whose unit belonged to the local branch of the Federal Security Service, returned fire, dispersing the attackers, the official said. Police helicopters chased the militants, he said.

The attack came despite major fighting ending years ago in Chechnya, which experienced two separatist wars in the past 13 years. But the region and neighboring provinces in Russia's North Caucasus remain plagued by violence. In Ingushetia, unidentified militants killed a Russian soldier and wounded another on Monday, police said. The attack occurred near the village of Ordzhonikidzevskaya, near the Chechen border, police said. Police also said that two local police officers were wounded late Sunday in a separate ambush in the town of Malgobek. Government critics attribute the growing number of attacks in the region — mostly against police — to anger fueled by abductions, beatings, unlawful arrests and killings of suspects by government forces and local allied paramilitaries.

The International Herald Tribune reports on another incident:

Militants have burned a Russian armored vehicle in Chechnya and also killed a soldier and wounded several police officers in a neighboring North Caucasus province, officials said Tuesday. A group of rebels fired rocket-propelled grenades at the armored vehicle in the village of Bamut in southern Chechnya late Monday, the regional branch of Russia's Interior Ministry said. The crew of the armored vehicle managed to get out unhurt, but a resident was wounded in crossfire, the ministry said.

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