12 suspected rebels killed in Chechnya: president
Twelve suspected militants and two law enforcement officers died in a shootout in Chechnya in Russia's volatile North Caucasus Sunday, Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov told news agencies.
Security forces opened fire on suspected militants as they entered the village of Tsentoroi in the northeast of the region early Sunday, Kadyrov told the RIA Novosti news agency.
Two law enforcement officials were killed and two more hospitalised with wounds, said Kadyrov, who was born in the village and took personal charge of the operation.
Five peaceful civilians were killed in the operation, a source in the region's security forces told RIA Novosti. Kadyrov said earlier that four civilians had been wounded.
"According to the latest information,the rebels entered the village at 4:30 (0030 GMT) and set fire to several houses before police and members of the Chechen president's security service retaliated," the source said.
In a separate incident, police shot dead four suspected rebels after they opened fire from two cars late Saturday in the Khasavyurt district of the nearby region of Kabardino-Balkaria, the region's interior ministry said.
Earlier Saturday officials announced that Russian forces had killed 10 suspected militants in operations in Kabardino-Balkaria and the nearby region of Dagestan.
The pro-Kremlin authorities are battling an Islamist insurgency in the North Caucasus, where shootings and bomb attacks are a near-daily occurrence.
© 2010 AFP