Two physics observatory staff shot dead in Russian Caucasus

8th October 2011, Comments 0 comments

Suspected rebels shot dead two members of staff of a physics research facility in the volatile Russian North Caucasus, investigators said Saturday.

Attackers shot dead at their home the chief engineer and systems administrator at the Baksan neutrino observatory in the Kabardino-Balkaria region, the Investigative Committee said in a statement.

Two attackers entered the married couple's apartment in the village of Neitrino and shot them and stole possessions, investigators said, with their bodies discovered at around 9 pm on Friday.

The couple were named as Dzhamal Guliyev and Marina Kozhemyakina by Russian television.

The couple's possessions and documents were later found at a rebel camp after a special operation on Saturday that killed two insurgents, the RIA Novosti news agency reported, citing a statement from the region's emergency centre.

"While searching the dead bandits, certain possessions and documents were found belonging to the family of the neutrino observatory staff killed yesterday," the statement said, RIA Novosti reported.

The observatory is part of the Russian Academy of Sciences's Institute of Nuclear Research.

Located in a valley close to the Elbrus mountain, it is an underground laboratory with tunnels that are used for particle physics and neutrino astrophysics research, according to the institute's website.

Kabardino-Balkaria, a mountainous region known for its popular ski resorts, has seen growing violence recently, some of it targeting infrastructure, as the North Caucasus battles an armed Islamist insurgency. In July last year, rebels attacked the Baksanskaya hydroelectric power station, killing two guards and setting the facility on fire with a string of blasts.

© 2011 AFP

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