Top separatist fighter killed in Chechnya

Russian security officials killed a top separatist fighter in a gunfight in eastern Chechnya on Monday, Russian military officials said.

Mansur Magomayev was killed after he refused arrest during a special operation in the eastern city of Gudermes, according to a statement from the regional headquarters for Russian forces in the North Caucasus. NTV broadcast footage of heavily armed soldiers bursting through a gate at a home, and later showed a man it identified as Magomayev lying face down on the ground.

Guns, explosives, ammunition, night-vision goggles and other equipment were found at the house, the statement said.

Also Monday, more than 100 people demonstrated outside the government headquarters in the Chechen capital, Grozny, calling for authorities to do more to locate three men in their 50s who were kidnapped more than a month ago and were allegedly being held at a regional government detention center.

Chechen authorities have refused to comment on the men's whereabouts.

Chechnya has been at war for most of the past decade, with separatist fighters based largely in the southern mountainous areas waging hit-and-run guerrilla attacks on Russian forces. Kidnapping are rampant and the violence regularly spills over to neighboring regions, either in the form of criminal gang turf-wars or separatist fighting.

In Karachayevo-Cherkessia, a region west of Chechnya, a police officer and two civilians were killed on Sunday night outside a store in the regional capital, police officials said.

The officer worked for the regional organized crime-fighting division and was accompanied by a retired Interior Ministry officer, said Interior Ministry spokesman Alexei Polyansky. A bystander was also killed.

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