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Thursday, June 01, 2006

Russia Still Light Years From Control Over Chechnya

Every time there is an outbreak of violence in Iraq, America is ridiculed for failing to win the peace there. Yet, Russia has been struggling far longer in Chechnya, much smaller and far closer to Russia, with less condemnation. Reuters reports the most recent oubreak of deadly violence:

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Five armed insurgents, one police officer and a bystander were killed on Wednesday in separate clashes near Russia's turbulent region, local media reported.

The bodies of three rebels were recovered from a house in the Ingushetia region, where police had trapped them after pursuing them from neighboring Chechnya, Itar-Tass news agency reported. It said one police officer was killed.

Two insurgents were killed in a gunfight with police in the nearby region of Dagestan, which also borders Chechnya, Interfax news agency reported. A bystander was hurt in the shooting and later died in hospital, the agency said.

Chechen rebels have fought a decade-long war for independence from Moscow. Russian forces have contained that rebellion but are now fighting an insurgency that has spread to other parts of the poor and mainly Muslim North Caucasus region.

Analysts say the insurgency is driven by militant Islamist ideas and resentment at police harassment. In some areas the fighting is also linked to organized crime.

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