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11 Sep, 2007 03:42

Killing of gypsies in Ingushetia to be investigated

The local prosecutor's office in Russia’s southern republic of Ingushetia has launched a criminal case into the killing of three gypsies. The victims, a father and his two sons, were killed in their own home by three suspects who allegedly tried to rob th

The case adds to recent tensions caused by a wave of violence that has swept the republic lately.

In the past four months several attacks have been carried out on families of ethnic Russians living in the republic. Attacks on the military and the police are also frequent.

The police believe it could be an attempt to discredit the recent programme aimed at attracting the Russian-speaking population, many of whom were forced to flee the region as a result of two Chechen campaigns in the 90s, back to their homes in the Northern Caucasus.

Many investigators say the latest wave of crimes may have been caused by a major counter-terrorism operation in Chechnya, which has forced militants out to the neighbouring republics.

It led the Russian authorities to reinforce the Ingush police with a temporary mission of 1,800 extra more troops last month.