Russian soldiers kill 12 Ingushetian insurgents
Russia killed on Wednesday in a one-day operation in a rural area of the region bordering Chechnya.
Russian security forces have killed 12 figthers in the southern province of Ingushetia, Interfax news agency reported on Thursday.
It quoted the local headquarters of the FSB federal security service as saying they were killed on Wednesday in a one-day operation in a rural area of the region bordering Chechnya.
Insurgents have fighted against Russia, government officials and security forces for years.
Ingushetia is one of the Russia's poorest regions.
The government says insurgents are financed from abroad and seek to destabilise the North Caucasus region, scene to two independence wars in Chechnya since the early 1990s.
Government critics say corruption, heavy-handed behaviour by the authorities and high unemployment are the main reasons behind the instability and violence.
Combatting between security forces and fighters has escalated this year, pushing the mainly Muslim region towards a civil war.
In October, President Dmitry Medvedev dismissed local leader Marat Zyazikov, a former KGB officer handpicked by his predecessor Vladimir Putin. Zyazikov is blamed by both Kremlin allies and foes for mishandling the region.
The new Ingush president, Yunis-Bek Yevkurov, has promised to improve the region's economic situation and ensure justice for the people.
Reuters Last Mod: 25 Aralık 2008, 17:18