Report: 1 Police Officer Killed, 7 Wounded in Chechnya Violence

Posted July 13th, 2011 at 10:35 pm (UTC-5)
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A Russian news report says a police officer was killed and seven others wounded during a clash Wednesday with an unknown armed group in Russia's restive Chechnya region.

The Interfax news agency quotes a police spokesman as saying police discovered the group in a forest several kilometers from a village and pursued them. One officer was killed and his colleagues wounded in the ensuing shoot-out.

Interfax says the gunmen managed to hide in the mountainous region, and Interior Ministry forces surrounded the area.

Moscow has fought two major wars with Islamist separatists in Chechnya. Although the major fighting ended about a decade ago, attacks on government targets continue almost daily. Some of the violence has spilled into neighboring southern Russian republics.

Russian leaders have pledged to rid the restive North Caucasus of violence and improve its economy. High unemployment and low living standards are considered to be the main reasons driving local residents to join militant groups.

The RIA Novosti news agency reported Thursday that authorities in the North Caucasus have pledged to modernize major electric power plants and construct several new facilities in the region within the next four years. The report says a total of 29 large electric power facilities will be built or modernized by 2016 in the restive region.