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The BBC's Steve Rosenberg
"Three blasts and two die in Gudermes car bomb incidents"
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The BBC's Steven Eke
"Chechnya sees almost daily shoot-outs and ambushes directed against Russian forces"
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Tuesday, 19 June, 2001, 17:49 GMT 18:49 UK
Car bombs rock Chechnya
Years of fighting have left Chechnya shattered
At least three people have been killed and 35 injured in a series of near-simultaneous car bomb explosions in Chechnya's second largest city, Gudermes.

There are many, many people who received injuries and some people died

Gudermes administration chief Malika Gezimiyeva
The town is the seat of the republic's pro-Moscow administration, and the powerful blasts appeared to target official buildings.

One exploded near a court building, another outside the local prosecutor's office, while a third was detonated in a car parked near a police station.

The Russian Interior Ministry said 16 Chechen policemen who work for the Russian Government were injured in the attacks, two of them seriously.

Map of Chechnya
A fourth car packed with explosives is reported to have been blown up by Russian soldiers.

"There are many, many people who received injuries and some people died," Gudermes administration chief Malika Gezimiyeva said, quoted by Interfax.

The pro-Moscow Prime Minister, Stanislav Ilyasov, has sent an emergency commission to Gudermes to investigate the explosions.

So far, no-one has accepted responsibility for the car bombs but in the past Moscow has blamed Chechen rebels, who are locked in a bloody conflict with Russian forces.

In April, six Chechen policemen were killed in a bomb attack at a police building in Gudermes.

Pro-Russian unease

A number of local Chechen administrators recently resigned in protest against what they said was Moscow's failure to provide them with adequate protection against rebel attacks.

BBC regional analyst Steven Eke says Russia points to the institutions of civilian rule and Chechnya's partly restored legal system in order to show that its often bloody campaign against the rebels has brought positive results.

Russian troops
Russian forces are also vulnerable to guerrilla attack
The attacks came on the same day as an announcement from the chairman of Russia's central electoral commission that local elections may be held in Chechnya in 2002.

But our analyst says a long-term solution to Chechnya's instability is likely to remain elusive if rebel attacks continue against representatives of the Russian-backed local authorities.

The rebels launch almost daily attacks, both on Russian troops in Chechnya and on pro-Moscow Chechen officials, often planting mines and staging shoot-outs.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Russian military command reported that 10 rebels had been killed the previous day.

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See also:

03 May 01 | Europe
Chechnya violence intensifies
25 Apr 01 | Europe
Six die in Chechnya blast
15 Apr 01 | Europe
Second Chechen official killed
13 Apr 01 | Europe
Top official killed in Chechnya
13 Mar 01 | Media reports
Russia begins Chechnya pullout
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