Steppe village mosque turned into arsenal

In the early hours of Wednesday, a Kalashnikov assault rifle with ammunition, a portable radio with an extra power supply and an RGD-5 grenade were discovered in a steppe village mosque in the Neftekumsk region of the Stavropol Territory in the south of Russia's European part.

In an exclusive interview with RIA Novosti, head of the Stavropol Territory regional department on fighting organised crime, Colonel Viktor Barnash said that a special police operation had been carried out in the Neftekumsk region bordering on Dagestan. It was a targeted operation to check those villages and locations where activists of the Chechen illegal armed formations were reportedly hiding.

Exchanges of fire were registered. In an attempt to show resistance, one of the bandits was wounded in the leg, another managed to escape having fired a grenade. Fortunately, no police casualties were reported.

The total of 10 people allegedly linked to illegal armed formations were detained overnight, four of them being identified as internationally wanted criminals. There are reasons to suppose that some of them participated in the killing of two staff members of the Neftekumsk regional interior department and made a life attempt on the head of the regional criminal investigation department.

Regarding the weapons discovered in the mosque, Viktor Barnash recalled that recently Islamic extremists had managed to recruit a number of young people from Neftekumsk villages for Chechen terrorist training camps. Later on, some of the recruits were spotted armed in this steppe Stavropol region.

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