Gunmen kill three police in Russian Caucasus

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Gunmen shot dead three policemen on Friday when they attacked a convoy escorting a prisoner in Russia's volatile Northern Caucasus region, an official said.

The police convoy was escorting a convict in the Caucasus region of Karachayevo-Cherkessia, one in a patchwork of the republics in the Northern Caucasus, when it came under attack from armed assailants.

"Three policemen died as a result of the attack on the convoy," a spokesman for regional investigators told AFP.

The unidentified gunmen seized the automatic rifles and revolvers belonging to the police, released the convict and fled the scene, the spokesman said on condition of anonymity.

Karachayevo-Cherkessia is located near the volatile regions of Chechnya, Dagestan and Ingushetia, where the authorities are battling a Muslim insurgency and attacks on government officials are a near-daily occurrence.

In Kabardino-Balkaria, another Caucasus region which like Karachayevo-Cherkessia has until recently seen fewer signs of the unrest, gunmen this week broke into a cafe and killed four traffic police taking their lunch break.

© 2011 AFP

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