Attack on Russian regional leader

The president of the southern Russian republic of Ingushetia has been wounded in an assassination attempt, apparently launched by a suicide bomber.Yunus-Bek Yevkurov is said to be in critical but stable condition in hospital, with head and chest injuries. Reports said one bodyguard was killed and several others were wounded, after a car travelling at high speed rammed the president’s vehicle. Ingushetia, which neighbours Chechnya, has seen violence soar recently. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev called the attack, in the city of Nazran, “an act of terror”. He has ordered the interior ministry and the Federal Security Service (FSB) “to fully investigate the attack on the Ingush president’s life and to take all the necessary law-enforcement efforts”, presidential press secretary Natalya Timakova said. Charred shellThe attack was launched at about 0820 (0420 GMT) as the president’s motorcade passed, carrying him to work, an official told Itar-Tass news agency. The brother of the president was among at least three bodyguards injured in the attack, he said. Witnesses said they saw a 4×4 vehicle – apparently the president’s – on the road with broken windows and bodywork damage. The charred shell of another car – presumably the bomber’s – lay at the bottom of an embankment. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but it seems probable that it was carried out by Muslim separatists fighting against Moscow’s rule in Ingushetia, says the BBCs Rupert Wingfield-Hayes in Moscow. Monday’s attack is the third on a senior figure in Ingushetia in as many weeks. On June 10, gunmen killed the deputy chief supreme court justice in Nazran as she dropped her children at a kindergarten. Three days later, the region’s former vice prime minister was shot dead outside his home in Nazran. Hundreds of refugees from the wars in Chechnya have settled in Ingushetia, a mainly Muslim republic, which is itself one of Russia’s poorest regions. The insurgency in Chechnya has largely been suppressed, but the violence has spilled over and now seems to be escalating in Ingushetia and Dagestan. President Yevkurov, a former paratrooper general, was installed by the Kremlin last year to try to bring stability to Ingushetia. Mr Medvedev paid tribute to the progress made by Mr Yevkurov, saying: “The Ingush president did much recently both to bring order and… civil peace to the republic. The bandits did not like this activity.”

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