Judge shot dead in volatile North Caucasus: officials

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A district court judge was shot dead in Russia's troubled North Caucasus region of Kabardino-Balkaria, authorities said on Wednesday.

Unidentified assailants "fired multiple shots at a judge who died of his gunshot wounds on the spot," the Investigative Committee of the Prosecutor General's Office said, adding the incident took place in the village of Baksanenok on Tuesday night.

The victim was named as Dzhulber Bykov, who served as a judge in the town of Maisky, to the north of the regional capital Nalchik.

Russia is fighting a Muslim insurgency in the Caucasus and deadly attacks on government officials in the republics of Chechnya, Ingushetia and Dagestan are a near-daily occurrence.

But the violence has recently increased in regions that until lately had seen fewer signs of the unrest.

In July militants burst into a hydroelectric plant in Kabardino-Balkaria, killing two people and setting the power plant on fire with a string of blasts.

Separately, a fire broke out at a large hydropower plant in the Caucasus region of Dagestan Tuesday night, the regional emergencies ministry said, adding the flames were put out several hours later and no-one was hurt.

The emergencies ministry said the fire was caused by a technical failure, indicating there were no signs of foul play at the Irganaiskaya power plant.

© 2010 AFP

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