5 officers killed in Chechen Gudermes

Five police officers are reported to have been killed and several more injured in an explosion in the Chechen Republic. The incident happened at a police base in the eastern district of Gudermes.

The cause of the blast is being investigated.

According to the Internal Affairs minister of the republic, police officers are believed to have been killed when an old shell exploded.

The incident comes ahead of a visit by the Council of Europe's Human Rights Commissioner, Thomas Hammarberg.

In an interview for Russia Today Mr Hammarberg has told that he has already been in the republic with his predecessor, Alvaro Gil-Robles, in March last year. But now, visiting Chechntya for the first time as the Human Rights Commissioner, he «…would like to go there and try to find out what measures have been taken in order to address the problem of impunity.»

The EC commissioner added that «…when we return, we will have to digest all the information we have got and try to formulate sensible recommendations on further steps which need to be taken both by the local authorities there and by the authorities here, in Moscow.»