Russian forces face stand-off

Russian security forces have surrounded a group of alleged Muslim fighters holed up in an apartment in the southern Russian city of Nalchik, the Interior Ministry has said.

    Last month, security forces killed seven fighters in the same city

    Saturday's stand-off in Nalchik, the capital of the Kabardino-Balkariya region,

    was the latest in a series of confrontations between law-enforcement

    authorities and alleged fighters in the volatile North Caucasus region,

    which includes Chechnya.

    Last month, security forces killed seven alleged fighters in the

    same city in a two-day battle with members of the so-called Yarmuk group. 

    A duty officer at the southern district office of the Interior Ministry

    said the fighters, thought to be in the house on Saturday, were also

    members of the Yarmuk group.

    Evacuation

    An armoured personnel carrier and riot police

    were at the scene, and security forces evacuated residents of surrounding

    buildings and cut off natural gas flows in the neighbourhood.

    A spokesman for the Nalchik police department, who did not give his name,

    told Ekho Moskvy radio that 20 fighters were thought to be in the apartment

    .

    Sergei Polyansky, spokesman for the southern district office, said

    operations were also under way in several other districts of Nalchik to seal

    off other residential buildings.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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