Russian police officers take up positions during a patrol mission in Chechnya. (File photo)
Law enforcement forces have killed four militants during a special operation in Russia’s violence-plagued North Caucasus republic of Chechnya.
“The operation has been conducted since early morning in the mountainous area of the Vedensky district [in southern Chechnya],” RIA Novosti news agency quoted Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov as saying on Thursday.
He added that the operation was targeting members of a militant group involved in acts of terrorism and sabotage in the region.
Kadyrov said two police officers were also killed during clashes with the militants.
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.