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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Soldiers, Chechen Police Fight Over a Cow, Five People Dead

ROSTOV-ON-DON -- Five people died in a clash between federal soldiers and pro-Moscow Chechen police provoked by a dispute when a federal military vehicle ran over a Chechen's cow, a spokesman for the Chechen Interior Ministry said Tuesday.

The incident, which occurred on the outskirts of Grozny, underlined the tensions that exist even between Moscow's forces and locally recruited Chechen police over treatment of civilians in Chechnya.

Interior Ministry spokesman Ruslan Atsayev declined to give any further details.

An Interior Ministry official said that the Chechen police had tried to prevent a column of federal army vehicles from leaving the spot. Local inhabitants from the village of Berkat-Yurt also went out onto the road to demand compensation for the loss of the animal. He did not say when the clash occurred.

"Heated arguments sparked a shootout, in which two policemen, two local residents and one Russian serviceman were killed," a local official was quoted by Interfax as saying.

Chechen Prime Minister Sergei Abramovich, meanwhile, said police discovered two land mines along the route his motorcade was taking in Grozny and suggested he could have been targeted for assassination.

Separately, Interfax quoted an official in the prosecutor's office in Grozny as saying that several civilians have been kidnapped in the past 24 hours.

A woman told prosecutors that 10 gunmen wearing camouflage uniforms broke into her apartment in Grozny at night and took her son. Another two men are believed to have been kidnapped in the north of Chechnya, the report said.