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Chechnya Blast Kills 5 Russian Soldiers


Reports from southern Russia say an explosion in Chechnya has killed five Russian soldiers, including a regional commander.

Russian military officials say the soldiers were responding to an attack on the home of a local official in Rosni-Chu village when their vehicle hit a land mine early Sunday. The dead included a colonel, Alexander Kayak, who was Russia's top officer in an area of Chechnya, the Urus-Martan region, southwest of Grozny, the republic's capital.

Russian news agencies say Shamkhan Beksultanov the Chechen civilian administrator targeted by the original attack lost his home, which burned to the ground, but he escaped unhurt. Interfax says the attackers tried to seize the administrator's son, but he, too, escaped harm.

Chechen separatists have been battling Russian troops and Moscow's supporters in the Caucasus region for most of the past 15 years. Russian troops control most of Chechnya's territory, but rebel guerrillas frequently stage hit-and-run attacks against them.

Some information for this report provided by AP.

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