Five suspected rebels killed in Russia's Dagestan: officials
Russian authorities killed five suspected rebels in the volatile North Caucasus region of Dagestan who opened fire at police as they attempted to stop their car, officials said on Wednesday.
The latest skirmish between authorities and militants took place during an attempted identity check late Tuesday in the town of Khasavyurt near Chechnya, the site of two bloody wars with separatists in the 1990s.
"Five members of an illegal armed group have been eliminated by return fire," the regional interior ministry said in a statement. Three automatic rifles and munitions have been found in the car during a search, it said.
The statement identified four of the five men, saying they were in their early twenties to early thirties.
Dagestan is part of Russia's volatile North Caucasus region where authorities are battling an Islamist insurgency and where shootings and bomb attacks are nearly a daily occurence.
Analysts say poverty and corruption create a fertile ground for violence and help Islamist militants recruit young people in the region.
© 2010 AFP