Gunmen kill policeman, wound three in Russian Caucasus

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Gunmen shot dead a policeman and wounded three others in two two separate attacks in Russia's volatile North Caucasus region, Russian news agencies reported Sunday.

In Dagestan, a police officer was shot at around 2 am Saturday with a semi-automatic pistol as he sat in his car in the town of Khasavyurt in the east of the republic, the interior ministry said in a statement.

The police officer, named by Itar-Tass news agency as Major Shamsutdin Kurbanmagomedov, died on the way to hospital.

In Kabardino-Balkariya, three police officers were wounded in a shooting late Saturday as they drove through the town of Tyrnyauz in the west of the republic, the Interfax news agency reported, citing security services.

Attackers "opened fire on a police vehicle as it crossed a bridge. As a result of the shooting, a lieutenant and two sergeants received wounds of varying degrees of severity," an unnamed security official told Interfax.

The authorities are struggling to quash an Islamist-led insurgency in the North Caucasus that targets police and officials loyal to Moscow.

Earlier this month as part of a drive to end the extremism in the North Caucasus, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin announced a major economic drive to make the impoverished region more attractive to investors.

© 2010 AFP

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