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5 officials killed in Russia's violent south

Militants in Russia's restive south fatally shot five law enforcement personnel in separate attacks, authorities said on Wednesday.

world Updated: Jul 15, 2009 17:02 IST

Militants in Russia's restive south fatally shot five law enforcement personnel in separate attacks, authorities said on Wednesday.

Two police officers and two elite troops were killed in Chechnya late on Tuesday when police engaged in an hour-long gunfight with up to 15 suspected insurgents, who subsequently fled into woodland, Chechnya's interior ministry said in a statement.

In neighboring Ingushetia, a court bailiff and a relative were gunned down in their car late on Tuesday by unidentified assailants, according to Svetlana Gorbakova, a spokeswoman for the province's investigative committee.

Law enforcement officials die daily in violence that plagues the country's North Caucasus region and is attributed to separatist insurgents, criminal elements and ethnic feuds.

In Dagestan overnight, fire sparked by a bomb engulfed a police station in the town of Khasavyurt, close to the border with Chechnya. All documents on criminal cases were destroyed, but there were no reported casualties, Dagestan's interior ministry spokesman Mark Tolchinsky said.

There were no reports of arrests in any of the violence, as is typical.

Observers say an upsurge in attacks in recent months _ including an assassination attempt on Ingushetia's president _ could be a response to increased government efforts to stamp them out. Yunus Bek Yevkurov is recovering in a Moscow clinic after a suicide bomber drove a car into his motorcade last month.