Gunmen kill nine Chechen police in Russia's Ingushetia

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Nine Chechen police officers were killed today in the Russian republic of Ingushetia after gunmen opened fire on their convoy, Russia's Interfax news agency reported, citing the republic's interior ministry.

The attackers, who fired automatic weapons at the police convoy from a forest at the roadside, also left nine policemen badly wounded, the news agency reported.

The Kremlin-appointed leader of Ingushetia, Yunus-Bek Yevkurov, is fighting for his life in hospital after a suicide bomb blast struck his armoured car on June 22 in the city of Nazran, where today's attack also took place.

After the attack on Yevkurov, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev ordered the head of the neighbouring republic of Chechnya to fight insurgents across the regional border in Ingushetia.

Both regions are in the volatile and mainly Muslim Caucusus region in southern Russia, where the Kremlin is facing an insurgency that has intensified in recent months, striking at local officials and security personnel.

The Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov vowed to respond to the assassination attempt against Yevkurov by sending in his own troops to quell the insurgency there.

"We will take no captives, we will destroy them. As long as they exist there will be blood," he told Reuters.

Kadyrov's harsh tactics have brought relative stability to Chechnya since he took power in 2007 after more than a decade of war. But fellow Kremlin appointees have failed to stem spikes in violence in neighbouring Dagestan and Ingushetia.