Law enforcement officers have killed two suspected militants during a document check in Russia's volatile North Caucasus republic of Dagestan. The Russian Interior Ministry announced in a statement that the pair was driving a sedan on Sunday, when police flagged for a check on a federal highway. The men opened fire instead, and were killed by return fire, RIA Novosti news agency reported. The report added that no police officers were injured in the shootout. Two Kalashnikov automatic rifles were seized from the slain militants. Local investigators said one of the men, identified as Viktor Volkov, was on the wanted list for numerous attacks on security forces.
Russia has been fighting militants since the mid 1990s in its North Caucasus region, where the republics of Chechnya, Dagestan, and Ingushetia have been the scene of sporadic attacks and militant clashes.Violence first broke out in Chechnya in 1994, when 250,000 people were forced to flee to neighboring territories because of a war between Chechen separatists and the Russian army. After a short-lived period of relative peace from 1996 to 1999, war resumed following attacks blamed on Chechen militant groups. An estimated 100,000 people have been killed and thousands more displaced in the conflict. MP/JR