Bandits trapped inside Dagestani canyon

Federal forces have trapped a gang, which attacked Dagestan, a North Caucasian republic that borders on Chechnya, inside a local canyon. This was disclosed to reporters at a press conference by Vladimir Boldyrev, commander of the North Caucasian military district's forces.

Mop-up operations are now in progress, Boldyrev told those present.

We are doing our best to save lives, Boldyrev said, while explaining the delay in combat operations. According to Boldyrev, snipers, artillery systems and aircraft are now operating in the vicinity.

A 2,000-strong military formation was established over a 24-hour period, after the gang was located, comprising special purpose units, as well as Defense Ministry, border-control and Dagestani republican-police units, Boldyrev went on to say.

The northern sector was shielded from the very outset; moreover, we cut off the gang's escape routes to Chechnya, Boldyrev explained.

The military believe that the gang had some 25-27 members. The bandits were moving from Chechnya in the direction of Georgia, eventually attacking border guards and thus exposing themselves.

Boldyrev didn't say how many bandits were killed in action. We'll publish these statistics upon their official confirmation, Boldyrev said in conclusion.

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