Chechen police discovered a large homemade bomb in a car they stopped near the provincial capital, Grozny, and there were concerns that a second car they did not manage to head off could also contain explosives, the Russian Interior Ministry said Wednesday.
The police officers tried to stop the two Russian-made sedans for inspection Tuesday outside the village of Pobedinskoye, Roman Shchekotin, spokesman for the southern regional district office of the Interior Ministry said. Instead of stopping, the people in the cars opened fire, then two jumped from one of the cars into the other and made their getaway.
Police found a metal box in the abandoned vehicle filled with 60 kilograms (132 pounds) of ammonium nitrates and aluminum powder, two electric batteries and two 400-gram (14-ounce) sticks of TNT, Shchekotin said. He added that police and security service officers were searching for the second car in hopes of heading off a possible terrorist attack.
Meanwhile, police detained a suspected rebel in the restive southern region of Dagestan, according to the regional Interior Ministry.
Tagir Dadayev, who allegedly belonged to a gang headed by purported Islamic warlord Rappani Khalilov, was captured Tuesday in the town of Dylym, on the border with Chechnya, said ministry spokeswoman Anzhela Martirosovaya.
Also Tuesday, a prominent Islamic faith healer, Maksharip Belkharoyev, was shot and killed by six masked gunmen who broke into his house in the village of Alkhasty in the Russian republic of Ingushetia. His adult daughter was gravely wounded, said Roman Shchekotin, spokesman for the Interior Ministry's southern district office. Belkharoyev had frequently spoken out against Islamic extremism, the AP reports.
At a meeting with a delegation from the Council of Europe Chechen President Alu Alkhanov said Wednesday that 2,500 people had been registered as kidnapped or missing in Chechnya, the ITAR-Tass news agency reported.