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Officials: Suicide bomber kills 6 in Chechnya

/ Source: The Associated Press

A suicide bomber killed six people and himself, and wounded at least 10 others Sunday in the capital of violence-plagued Chechnya, officials said.

The regional Emergency Ministry said the attacker tried to enter a concert hall minutes before the start of a play. It said four police officers stopped the attacker about 40 meters (130 feet) from the hall and died in the explosion.

The Interior Ministry said at least 10 civilians were wounded, and almost 800 spectators inside the hall were evacuated. Two of the wounded, a Turkish construction manager and a Georgian national, died in the hospital, it said.

Chechnya's President Ramzan Kadyrov said the attack will not stop the eradication of militants in the province.

"This is an agony of the bandits," RIA Novosti news agency quoted him as saying. "They have no human face, no morals, nothing. They are not human."

Despite the end of large-scale fighting in Chechnya, the North Caucasus has been increasingly roiled by shootings and kidnappings linked to Islamist insurgents, criminal elements and ethnic feuds.

Last Wednesday, a prominent human rights defender, Natalya Estemirova, was kidnapped from her Grozny apartment and found dead in neighboring Ingushetia with gunshot wounds.

Her colleagues from the group Memorial claimed Kadyrov was behind the murder. He denied the allegations and sued Memorial.

Critics and rights groups accuse Kadyrov and his security forces of widespread abuses, torture and executions of people suspected of ties with militants.

Chechnya and surrounding provinces in Russia's North Caucasus region are beset by daily shootings, bombings and other violence that persists after two wars between Chechen rebels and government forces.

Also Sunday, four militants were found dead after an explosion in the Ingushetia province, which borders Chechnya to the west.

The regional interior ministry said a makeshift bomb exploded early Sunday in a car in the Nazran district, killing the four passengers aboard, including a member of a militant group previously convicted for illegal arms possession.

The province's Kremlin-appointed president, Yunus-Bek Yevkurov, was critically wounded in a bombing last month.