Kidnappings and mine explosions in Russia's northern Caucasus

Other News Materials 24 October 2008 10:20 (UTC +04:00)

Some 15 people were kidnapped by alleged Islamic militants in Russia's strife-torn North Caucasus region, while at least eight police officers were injured in mine explosions, media reports said Friday.

Masked gunmen abducted up to 15 civilians in the Russian republic Ingushetia, the Interfax news agency reported the republic's Interior Ministry as saying, reported dpa.

In Chechnya, eight police officers were injured when two mines exploded in buildings, the agency said. Both incidents took place late Thursday evening.

The region saw a steep rise in violence between rebel groups and police and army units in recent months, in particular in Ingushetia.

Since Moscow recognized the breakaway Georgian regions Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent nations in late August, concerns are increasing across the region that independence movements are rising in regions like Ingushetia or Dagestan.

Human rights activists criticize that no independent coverage of of events in the region is possible.

Ingushetia, located in between the Russian republics of Chechnya and North Ossetia, is considered as extremely unsafe amid the fighting between rebels and security forces of the Moscow loyalist government in the capital Magas.