Two killed in Russian power station attack

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The Independent Online

Two carloads of assailants attacked a hydroelectric station in southern Russia on Wednesday, killing two workers and setting off bombs.

The attack took place in Kabardino-Balkariya, one of the republics in Russia's restive Caucasus region where clashes with insurgents are frequent.

A spokesman for the republic's police, Adlan Kakakuyev, said two cars carrying a half-dozen assailants attacked the Baksan plant, killing two guards and wounding three others in gunfire. The attackers then set off explosives in several parts of the 25-megawatt plant and detonated them.

The assailants fled. There were no immediate claims of responsibility for the attack.

The explosions and subsequent fire destroyed two of the plant's three power units, but there was no danger of flooding downriver, the state news agency ITAR-Tass cited power company RusGidro as saying. The dam and plant are on the Baksan River, a waterway that flows into the Terek, a major regional river.

The assault was launched around 4:30 a.m. Kakakuyev said the same assailants are believed to have earlier opened fire on a police station in the town of Baksan. No one was hurt in that attack.

The attack on the hydroelectric station was the most dramatic outburst of violence in the Russian Caucasus in recent months. Although Kabardino-Balkariya sees less violence than nearby Chechnya, Dagestan and Ingushetia, the republic suffers from persistent tensions stemming from poverty and harsh police actions toward worship by unsanctioned Muslim sects.

In October 2005, dozens of men stormed the capital city, Nalchik, attacking police and government offices. Some 139 people died, including 94 militants.