Judge shot dead, bomb wounds policemen in Russian Caucasus

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A judge was shot dead and bomb blasts on Sunday wounded two policemen and derailed a cargo train in Russia's troubled North Caucasus region of Dagestan, authorities said.

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.

A bomb blast in the same city early Sunday wounded two policemen, the Investigative Committee said in a separate statement.

The explosive device, thought to have been planted in the boot of a car parked on the side of the road, went off when a vehicle carrying a police canine team passed by, it said.

Another bomb 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 Investigative Committee said, adding that train traffic was suspended.

Russian television broadcast footage of the cars on their sides and said 16 cars 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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