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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Chechens Release 6 Dagestani Policemen




Chechen gunmen have freed six policemen who had been held hostage for seven months, an official said Wednesday.


The policemen, from the neighboring Russian republic of Dagestan, were turned over to Dagestani authorities Tuesday, a spokeswoman for the Dagestani police said by telephone from the local capital, Makhachkala.


The hostages had been seized during a raid by Chechen guerrillas on a military unit in the town of Buinaksk last December.


They were released at a bridge on the border between Chechnya and Dagestan.


Dagestani authorities declined to say what conditions had been met to secure the release of the hostages. The hostage-takers had earlier demanded the release of Chechen prisoners held in Dagestan.


Itar-Tass, citing unidentified Dagestani police sources, said the hostages were freed in return for the release of three Chechen prisoners who the agency claimed were known Islamic militants.


In a separate incident in the troubled North Caucasus region, unidentified attackers on Wednesday fired three rocket-propelled grenades into the sixth floor of the Makhachkala city administrative building.


Three people were injured in the attack, a Dagestan police spokesman said by telephone. The attackers fled.


The spokesman dismissed a Itar-Tass report that armored vehicles belonging to the local Interior Ministry had been deployed on the main square of Makhachkala.


"Everything is calm," he said.