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5 Jul, 2009 07:12

Nine policemen killed in Russia’s southern republic

Nine Chechen policemen have been killed in the Russian Republic of Ingushetia, after militants launched a grenade and opened gunfire at their car. At least ten others were wounded in the attack.

The incident happened close to the border with Chechnya, where a joint special operation was being conducted by Ingush and Chechen policemen.

A source in the Ingush Interior Ministry said that the firing originated from a nearby forest.

Currently, security forces in Russia's southern republic of Ingushetia are closing in on militants. Up to 20 gunmen are surrounded by police in a forest on the border, according to the republic's officials.

They were shelled by security force mortar fire yesterday and the operation has continued today.

According to Ruslan Alkhanov of the Chechen Republic Interior Ministry, families of the policemen killed in the incident will receive help from the Russian Interior Ministry and the Ingush government. He added that the measures against militants should be tough.

”Once again we see that the only way to deal with these criminals is either to destroy them or to put them behind bars,” he said.

In late June, the Ingush president’s motorcade was attacked by a suicide bomber in the city of Nazran.

Two people were killed, and president Yevkurov, together with his brother, who was also his bodyguard, were transported to Moscow for treatment.

Doctors say they are in a stable but serious condition. After the assassination attempt, Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov launched a special operation on the border between the two republics under his personal control.