Oct 22, 2009

Bombings up sharply in Russia's North Caucasus

Bomb blasts and attacks on officials in Russia's troubled North Caucasus have risen by more than half this year, Interfax news agency quoted a senior investigator as saying on Thursday.
"We have failed to reduce the level of terrorist crimes in the North Caucasus," said Alexander Bastrykin, head of the investigations committee at the prosecutor-general's office.

"This year 513 such crimes have been registered, which is a 57 percent increase," he added.
Analysts say the attacks, blamed by the government on Muslim insurgents backed by foreign cash, threaten Moscow's control over the volatile southern region, which is plagued by poverty and corruption. The worst hit areas have been Dagestan, Ingushetia and Chechnya, where Russia has fought two wars against separatists since 1994.

On Thursday, four policemen were injured in the Chechen capital Grozny when a suicide bomber triggered a 2 kg (4.4 lb) explosive device, news agencies reported. The bomber was killed.
In a separate incident, a car carrying the head of district criminal police was blown up in Ingushetia, the agencies said. They said the driver was killed, while the officer and his wife were rushed to hospital with injuries of "medium severity".

(Writing by Oleg Shchedrov, editing by Mark Trevelyan)
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