Two police killed, three servicemen wounded in Caucasus

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Two policemen were shot dead in a car chase in the restive Caucasus region of Dagestan, and three servicemen were injured in a separate incident, police said on Wednesday.

Police came under attack in the Dagestani village of Babayurt in the early hours of Wednesday as they tried to stop a black car with suspicious-looking occupants, regional police said in a statement.

During the chase, the assailants and opened fire on their pursuers.

"As a result of gunshots to various parts of the bodies two policemen died on the spot," the police statement said. The gunmen fled the scene and their burnt-out car was found later.

In a separate incident near the village of Ayalizimakhi in the same region, three servicemen were injured in a skirmish with assailants on Tuesday, regional police said.

One of the men suffered gunshot wounds, while the other two were injured

when a grenade exploded as they chased the assailants, police said, adding the servicemen were hospitalised.

The Caspian Sea region experiences almost daily shootings and bombings that officials blame on local criminals and Islamists with links to Chechnya.

Fuelled by endemic poverty and corruption, the militants are seeking to establish an independent Islamic state across the North Caucasus.

© 2011 AFP

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