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Russia Puts Toll in Ingush Attacks at 92

Authorities previously reported that fewer than 60 were killed Monday. An official says about 1,000 militants took part.

June 24, 2004|From Associated Press

VLADIKAVKAZ, Russia — Nighttime attacks by militants this week in the Russian republic of Ingushetia near the border of war-ravaged Chechnya killed 92 people and wounded 125, a regional government official said Wednesday.

Among the dead were 67 members of law enforcement agencies, said the official, Magomed Ziyaudinnov.

About 1,000 militants took part in the attacks Monday night, Ziyaudinnov said, quoting the Ingush Interior Ministry. The size of the militant force previously had been estimated at no more than 500, and the death reported toll Tuesday had been fewer than 60.

An Ingush policeman who identified himself only by his first name, Musa, said the simultaneous attacks appeared to have been timed around the changing of the guard at the Kavkaz checkpoint, the biggest army and police traffic stop on the main highway between Chechnya and Ingushetia, shortly before midnight Monday.

Many soldiers were killed in ambushes, while police and other law enforcement officials were shot and killed after being called to work when an alert was issued, Musa said. The officials were stopped and asked for identification papers at checkpoints set up by the gunmen, who were dressed like police. He said the gunmen disarmed and tied up some traffic policemen but spared their lives.

Flags flew at half-staff and all entertainment television programs in Ingushetia were canceled, as a three-day mourning period began Wednesday.

On Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir V. Putin visited Ingushetia and said that a regiment of Interior Ministry forces would be stationed there permanently.

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