Judge shot dead, cargo train derailed in Russian Caucasus

11th July 2010, Comments 0 comments

A judge was shot dead in Russia's troubled North Caucasus region of Dagestan, where a blast also derailed a cargo train loaded with grain, authorities said on Sunday.

The body of the judge, with gunshot wounds to his head, was found in his car at around 7:00 pm on Saturday in the city of Makhachkala in the southern Dagestan region, the Moscow-based investigators and police said.

"There were two shots to his head: one in the temple, the other in the back of the head," regional police spokesman Vyacheslav Gasanov told AFP.

The judge, who was the chairman of the Untsukul district court, died on the spot, the Investigative Committee of the Russian Prosecutor's Office said in a statement.

An explosion in the same region derailed a cargo train loaded with grain but no-one was hurt.

The blast caused 14 cars of the 50-car train to leave the tracks at around 4:10 am on Sunday, the prosecutor's office said in a separate statement, adding that train traffic was suspended.

Russian television broadcast footage of the cars on their sides said 16 had derailed and 13 had overturned.

Dagestan is part of Russia's volatile North Caucasus, where authorities are struggling to quash a Muslim insurgency.

The Kremlin calls the unrest in the Caucasus its biggest headache and this week Prime Minister Vladimir Putin announced a major economic drive to turn the impoverished region into an investor haven in a bid to end extremism.

© 2010 AFP

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