Senior policeman gunned down in North Caucasus

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A senior policeman in Russia's volatile North Caucasus region was killed early Wednesday when attackers opened fire on him with machine guns from a passing car, the local interior ministry said.

Amurbek Bitokhov, the deputy police chief of the eastern Urvansk district of the Kabardino-Balkaria region, was shot around 8:25 am (0425 GMT) by two masked attackers, the ministry said.

Bitokhov, 39, was sitting in his BMW car and died at the scene, the regional investigators said.

Russia is fighting a simmering Islamist insurgency in the North Caucasus, where it fought two wars with Chechen separatists in the 1990s, and attacks on police and government officials in the region are a near-daily occurrence.

Kabardino-Balkaria, which is known for its ski resorts, is located near the volatile regions of Chechnya, Dagestan and Ingushetia but has until recently seen less violence.

© 2011 AFP

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