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Special force set up to combat terrorism

world Updated: Apr 07, 2010 18:21 IST
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Russia has set up a special force to combat terrorism in the north Caucasus region following a series of terror strikes that killed over 50 people.

President Dmitry Medvedev ordered a set of new steps to combat terrorism emanating from the predominantly Muslim North Caucasus in the wake of a series of terror strikes, including twin suicide bombing of Moscow metro stations that led to the death of 54 people and over 120 injured.

"The president ordered the creation of a special anti-terrorism task force in the North Caucasus Federal District," the Kremlin said today.

The Federal Security Service head Alexander Bortnikov and Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev are expected to have the group up and running by April 19, it said.

Medvedev also ordered officials to prepare a proposal on a new programme to combat crime and terrorist acts in the North Caucasus by the end of this month.

Both female suicide bombers Mariyam Sharipova and Dzhannet Ustarkhanova, who attacked the Lubyanka and Park Kultury metro stations, hailed from Daghestan - a multi-ethnic Muslim republic in volatile North Caucasus, bordering Chechnya.

The Kremlin also said that Medvedev has asked the Prosecutor General Yuri Chaika and other concerned officials to submit proposals to toughen punishments for accomplices of terrorists by May 15.

The Kremlin statement said the president's orders are stemmed by the necessity of taking into account the specifics of law enforcement in the North Caucasus when planning and implementing measures to optimise the Interior Ministry's activities.

Last year Medvedev created the North Caucasus Federal District, headed by a Deputy Prime Minister as part of efforts to improve the regional economy and discourage locals to join militant groups.