13 killed in clashes in Russia's volatile Caucasus

January 27, 2012 - 9:35 AM

ROSTOV-ON-DON, Russia (AP) — Russian officials say an Islamist warlord, seven militants, four officers and one civilian have been killed in three separate incidents in Russia's violence-plagued southern Caucasus region.

Russia's Anti-Terrorist Committee spokesman Nikolai Sintsov said the leader of Islamist separatists in the province of Ingushetia was killed in a shootout Friday in the village of Ekazhevo along with two other militants.

Also Friday, police spokesman Vyasheslav Gasanov said four Russian military officers and five militants were killed in the neighboring province of Dagestan.

In another restive Russian province, Kabardino-Balkariya, three masked militants stormed into a school and stabbed a volleyball player in the gym, police spokesman Andrey Ushakov said.

An Islamic insurgency has spread across Russia's southern Caucasus region since two separatists wars against Russia were fought in Chechnya beginning in the 1990s. The insurgents now launch regular attacks on authorities who they blame for the abductions, torture and extra-judicial killings across the region.