Russia's Dagestan rocked by triple blasts

Six dead and scores wounded in bombings near interior ministry office in capital of mainly Muslim North Caucasus region.

    Blasts are a near-daily event in Dagestan, where fighters are seeking to carve out a separatist Islamic state [Reuters]

    At least six people have been killed and more than 61 others injured after three car bombs exploded in the capital of the predominantly Muslim Dagestan region in Russia's North Caucasus.

    The first car detonated in Makhachkala on Wednesday at 7:30pm (15:30 GMT), killing at least four people and injuring five passers-by, according to an interior ministry source, speaking on condition of anonymity.

    Two more car bombs exploded within metres of each other after midnight,  killing one police officer and a civilian, the source told the reporters.

    The blasts occurred about 500 metres from the offices of Dagestan's interior ministry, a representative of Makhachkala police said.

    "A police lieutenant died, and about 60 people went to the hospital," he said.

    "The first blast was to attract attention, and the second was directed [at people] as the area was being closed off."

    The second bomb was planted in a car and the blast was equivalent to about 35kg of TNT, he said.

    Blackened stores

    The debris of two cars lay crumpled on a main thoroughfare where blood was pooled near a row of shattered and blackened stores and cafes, state TV showed.

    In another region of Dagestan, several people assaulted a local police chief in the town of Buinaksk on Thursday morning, killing his two bodyguards.

    "They stopped his car as he was going to work and opened fire from machine guns," a police representative in Buinaksk, which lies about 30km southwest of Makhachkala, said. The chief, a police colonel, was unharmed.

    The Caspian Sea region of Dagestan experiences almost daily shootings and bombings that officials blame on local criminals and Muslim fighters with links to Chechnya.

    The fighters are battling for a separate Islamic state in the mainly Muslim North Caucasus along Russia's southern frontier.

    Dmitry Medvedev, the Russian president, has named the unrest there the country's chief security threat in the year before the March 2012 presidential election.

    The fighters took responsibility for a suicide bombing at Moscow's Domodedovo airport that killed 37 people in January, as well as twin metro attacks last year that killed 40 people.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    What obstacles do young women in technology have to overcome to achieve their dreams? Play this retro game to find out.

    Heron Gate mass eviction: 'We never expected this in Canada'

    Hundreds face mass eviction in Canada's capital

    About 150 homes in one of Ottawa's most diverse and affordable communities are expected to be torn down in coming months

    I remember the day … I designed the Nigerian flag

    I remember the day … I designed the Nigerian flag

    In 1959, a year before Nigeria's independence, a 23-year-old student helped colour the country's identity.