Police murder five anarchists in restive southern region of Dagestan

Police and security forces clashed Monday with alleged rebels in the restive southern Russian region of Dagestan, killing five, the Interior Ministry said. Units from various law enforcement agencies surrounded the suspects in a building in the center of Khasavyurt near a highway leading from the city, which is close to the border with Chechnya, police duty officer Magomed Amayev said.

Five rebels were killed, including one identified as Chechen field commander Lechi Eskiyev, said Roman Shchekotin, spokesman for the Interior Ministry's southern regional branch.

All five were killed when police attempted to detain them and they opened fire with automatic weapons, he said.

Eskiyev was wearing an explosive-laden belt and a powerful homemade bomb was discovered in the house where he had been hiding out, Shchekotin said.

Dagestan and other republics in Russia's North Caucasus region have been plagued by attacks by Chechen rebels and local militants, as well as Muslim militants from abroad.

Kremlin critics say repressive Russian policies by Moscow-backed authorities are largely to blame for growing ethnic tension and Islamic extremism in the region, reports the AP.

D.M.

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