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Friday, 22 June, 2001, 15:40 GMT 16:40 UK
Five killed in Chechnya bombings
Minutka Square in Grozny
Chechnya has been devastated by years of fighting
At least five people have been killed and nine wounded in two separate explosions in Chechnya.

Two Russian soldiers were killed and three were severely wounded when a remote controlled mine exploded under their truck on a motorway in the south of the rebel republic.

Map of Chechnya
About an hour later, a car bomb exploded as a military truck passed in the main city of Grozny. One soldier was killed in the vehicle, and two students died when the driver lost control and crashed into a market.

The blasts came on the day that Russian authorities claimed to have arrested people responsible for three bomb attacks in the city of Gudermes on Tuesday.

At least three people were killed in three separate explosions that day, and at least 35 were injured.

Chechen resistance

The blasts continue taking place despite years of Russian efforts to quell Chechen resistance, which has resulted in the devastation of Grozny.

Russian troops fought a losing battle to control Chechnya from 1994 to 1996, but returned in 1999 and have captured much of the republic.

Gudermes, the site of Tuesday's three near-simultaneous blasts, is the seat of the republic's pro-Moscow administration, and the powerful explosions appeared to target official buildings.


The arrested men were in possession of material that proves their link to the crime

Deputy Interior Minister Ivan Golubyov
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.

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

Arrests

It is not known how many people were arrested on Friday, but a Russian official said he was sure they were behind the Gudermes attacks.

"The arrested men were in possession of material that proves their link to the crime," Deputy Interior Minister Ivan Golubyov said, according to the French news agency AFP.

Russian troops
Russian forces are vulnerable to guerrilla attack
In April, six Chechen policemen were killed in a bomb attack at a police building in Gudermes.

Bombings have become common as Chechen guerrillas continue to resist Russian forces.

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.

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See also:

19 Jun 01 | Europe
Car bombs rock Chechnya
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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