Russia arrests two over mass murder: investigators
Russia has arrested two men on suspicion of involvement in the horrific murder last week of 12 people, including four children, in a house in the south of the country, investigators said Wednesday.
The killings in the village of Kushchevskaya in the southern Krasnodar region shocked Russia after investigators discovered the bodies on Friday and so far no clear motive for the crime has emerged.
One of the dead, identified as Vladimir Mironenko, was finance director at leading Russian agricultural firm Aston and there has been speculation the killings could have been linked to his business activities.
The prosecutor's investigative committee said in a statement that two men had been arrested, adding only that "the motive for this horrendous crime could have been personal hostility to one of the dead".
"The arrested men are active members of a bandit group" working in the region, said the statement, without giving further details.
Ten of those killed in the two-storey house were stabbed to death while a young child was killed by toxic gas and another was strangled. The criminals then started fires in an attempt to cover their tracks.
All the victims had been stabbed three to 10 times.
The RIA Novosti news agency said that Krasnodar region governor Alexander Tkachev held a meeting of the regional security council to discuss the murders and said the professional activities of one of the dead was a possible lead.
Meanwhile, some 1,000 people attended the funerals for Mironenko and other victims of the crime under tight security, the lifenews.ru news website reported.
The Krasnodar region lies just northwest of Russia's troubled Caucasus mountains which has been plagued by Islamist militant violence and includes the Black Sea city of Sochi, which is to host the 2014 Winter Olympics.
But officials have so far ruled out terror or ethnic conflict as a cause of the killings.
© 2010 AFP