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Fighters killed in North Caucasus
At least 14 suspected guerrillas killed in two separate gunfights in volatile region of Russia.
Last Modified: 29 Aug 2010 19:56 GMT

At least 14 suspected fighters and two police officers have been killed in Russia's volatile North Caucasus region, police said.

Nine of the suspected fighters died in a gunfight with police in the Kabardino-Balkariya republic on Friday, Roman Golubev, a police spokesman, told The Associated Press (AP) news agency.

Two of those fighters were suspected of organising a bomb blast in May that killed one man and wounded dozens, Russia's Investigative Committee, the country's main investigative body, said in a statement on Saturday.

Meanwhile, five suspected fighters and the two police officers were killed in another gunfight on Friday in the nearby republic of Dagestan, Magomed Tagirov, a local police spokesman, said.

'Moscow bombing ties'

The fighters had alleged ties to Magomedali Vagabov, who is accused of organising
the Moscow metro bombings in April that 40 killed people and left scores wounded.

in depth

  Timeline: Attacks in Russia
  The North Caucasus: A history of violence
  Chechnya's battle for independence

Vagabov himself was killed in a shootout with security forces in Dagestan last week, according to local authorities.

Security forces were searching the mountains outside the village of Gubden on Saturday for the group's remaining members, Dagestan police spokesman Vyacheslav Gasanov told the AP.

Dagestan is part of Russia's volatile North Caucasus region where authorities are battling separatist fighters and where shootings and bomb blasts are a near-daily occurrence.

Kabardino-Balkaria is seen as more stable than the Caucasus regions of Chechnya and Dagestan but has still seen mounting violence in the last months.

More than 30 fighters have been killed in raids in North Caucasus this month and a number of "terrorist attacks" have been prevented, Alexander Bortnikov, the federal security chief, told president Dmitry Medvedev on Saturday in comments broadcast on state-run television.

Rights activists say the attacks have been provoked in part by extrajudicial killings, torture and kidnappings allegedly carried out by police under the pretext of fighting terrorism.

Source:
Agencies
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