NALCHIK, Russia (AFP) – Russian security forces shot dead two suspected Islamic rebel fighters in the city of Nalchik and mounted a new sweep for insurgents involved in last week”s widescale assault.
Police said a man was shot dead overnight while attacking a paramilitary police post on the outskirts of Nalchik but gave no further details.
Early Tuesday, soldiers and police backed by armoured personnel carriers closed off the same neighbourhood. Another man was shot dead when he allegedly put up armed resistance to officers trying to check his documents. Two more suspects fled, police said.
Five days after large numbers of Islamic guerrillas simultaneously opened fire on government and law-enforcement targets throughout Nalchik, security remained heavy. Police reinforcements arrived from other Russian regions and armoured personnel carriers were on patrol.
Schools in the neighbourhood sealed off by police were shut. Others in the city, while officially open, were mostly deserted.
Meanwhile, about 50 mostly female relatives continued a demonstration demanding the authorities return for burial the bodies of suspected guerrillas.
Under Russian law the corpse of anyone suspected of involvement in terrorism is not returned to the family but buried in secret on prison grounds.
Nalchik is the capital of the Kabardino-Balkaria province near Chechnya in the mountainous, mostly Muslim North Caucasus region.
According to officials, the latest death toll for Thursday”s attack and its aftermath includes 35 members of the security forces, 92 rebels and nine civilians.