Russians and Islamists clash in Chechnya

Jan. 9, 2012 at 7:55 PM
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MOSCOW, Jan. 9 (UPI) -- A clash between Russian troops and militants in the republic of Chechnya has left at least four soldiers and four militants dead, Russian officials said Monday.

Chechnya, though a republic, is under Russian control and has joined Russian troops in battling an Islamist insurgency, the Russian state-owned news agency, RIA Novosti reported.

Russia's interior ministry said the Sunday morning firefight in the North Caucasus Vedensky district began when a well equipped rebel base was discovered, ITAR-Tass said.

Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov said troops and police officers fought with an "armed group of 10 to 15."

The battle persisted throughout Sunday night into early Monday morning. Four members of the security forces were killed and 16 wounded by the rebels' booby traps and gunfire, ITAR-Tass said.

It was unclear whether four or five rebels were killed.

"In all likelihood, everyone who was at the discovered base was killed," law enforcement officials said.

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