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Four attackers killed in Chechen capital: Region's leader

AFP , Sunday 18 Dec 2016
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Four armed "bandits" were killed and two wounded in a shootout following an attack on police in the capital of Russia's Chechnya region, strongman leader Ramzan Kadyrov said.

Regional boss Kadyrov said a "group of armed people" attacked a police officer and stole his car in the capital Grozny late Saturday.

A shootout erupted as law enforcement agencies apprehended the assailants after putting into action a security plan to lock down the city, Kadyrov told Russian news agencies.

"The bandits were neutralised by return fire. Two were taken to hospital and four were destroyed," he said late Saturday, adding that no police officers were killed.

No more details were given on the motives of the alleged attackers.

Russia fought two brutal separatist wars over the past two decades in Chechnya but the region has been largely pacified under Kadyrov's iron-fisted rule.

A dwindling group of Islamist insurgents are still fighting the authorities in Chechnya and across the volatile North Caucasus and sporadically launch eye-catching attacks.

Fourteen security officers were killed when armed militants stormed several buildings in Grozny on the day of President Vladimir Putin's state of the nation address in December 2014.

Kadyrov is accused by rights activists and the opposition of running Chechnya as his personal fiefdom, with kidnapping and torture widespread and little oversight from Moscow.

The Russian North Caucasus is one of the major sources of foreign jihadists fighting in Syria and Iraq.

The FSB security service earlier this month said it had killed a regional "emir" of the Islamic State group in a raid.

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