Eight killed, several wounded in North Caucasus clashes
At least eight persons were killed and many more wounded in a number of attacks and clashes between rebels and government forces in three of Russia's semi-autonomous republics in the northern Caucasus region, the Interfax agency reported Friday.
In Chechnya, three persons were shot dead by Islamic fighters in the mountain village of Benoi-Vedeno, the agency said, citing local authorities. The rebels also set fire to several homes and cars, reported dpa.
In the town of Nasran in Ingushetia, at least four persons were killed and four others seriously wounded in an explosion.
While prosecutors believed a terrorist background to the blast, investigators were also looking into the possibility that it was an accidental gas explosion. Several bodies were recovered from the rubble of a collapsed business.
In Makhachkala, capital of Dagestan, a bomb killed one person, followed by a firefight between members of Islamic groups and Russian security forces.
The latest violence underscores that the new president, Dmitri Medvedev, faces further unrest in the northern Caucasus region as did his predecessor Vladimir Putin, political observers in Moscow say.
While the situation in Chechnya has greatly calmed down since the wars there in the mid-1990s, violence flares up there every now and again.
In March, 15 people were killed in fighting between rebels and special forces in Chechenya, while Islamic groupings continue to clash with pro-Moscow authorities in Dagestan and Ingushetia.