Two gunmen killed after attacking police in Russia’s restive Chechnya region

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Two gunmen were killed by police after attacking officers in Russia’s restive North Caucasus republic of Chechnya, the regional interior ministry said Thursday.

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Two unidentified people “opened fire on police officers with automatic weapons and threw an improvised explosive device” after their vehicle was stopped for a routine check, a statement said.

“The two attackers were neutralized in return fire,” it added.

The ministry said the incident took place late Wednesday a few dozen kilometers east of the regional capital Grozny.

Read more: Russian prosecutors seek four years for Chechnya activist

Despite regular reports of violence in the region, Chechnya’s strongman leader Ramzan Kadyrov wrote on Telegram Tuesday that the situation there was “stable and peaceful.”

His comments were in response to another operation that resulted in the death of another alleged militant.

At least six people were killed in a shooting in October -- including two members of the security forces -- during a counter-terrorism operation in Grozny.

The North Caucasus region, where Russian forces fought two wars against separatists in the 1990s and early 2000s, is under the tight control of Kadyrov.

His regime has been condemned internationally for persecuting rights activists and for the reported torture and imprisonment of opponents.

Kadyrov has sometimes given orders at the scene during counter-terrorism operations, which often end with the killing of the suspects rather than arrests.

Although attacks on police have decreased in recent years in Chechnya, they still regularly occur in the predominantly Muslim region.

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