Suspected rebel killed in Russian Caucasus

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Police shot dead a suspected rebel as he resisted detention in the troubled Russian Caucasus region of Kabardino-Balkaria, investigators said Sunday.

Police shot the driver of a Lada car late Saturday after he refused to stop for a check and opened fire with a pistol, a spokesman for the region's investigative committee told the RIA Novosti news agency.

The dead man, identified as 39-year-old Murat Kardanov, was found to be carrying a pistol and a hand grenade, investigators said.

The shoot-out came the same day as Russian Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliyev visited the region and said that the security situation there remained "complex".

Kabardino-Balkaria, so far one of the most prosperous and peaceful regions of the Caucasus, has been shaken by a series of attacks, including the shootings of three Moscow tourists as they travelled to a ski resort in February.

The Kremlin fought two wars against separatist rebels in Chechnya in the past 15 years. But the insurgency has since become more Islamist in tone and much of the violence has spread to neighbouring regions.

© 2011 AFP

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