Six policemen have died in the volatile Russian Caucasus region of Ingushetia in a suicide bombing at the funeral of their colleague, Russia’s Investigative Committee has said.
“In a private house where the funeral was taking place for a neighbourhood policeman, a suicide bomber triggered an explosive device on his body,” the committee, which investigates major killings, said in a statement on Sunday.
“As a result of the explosion, according to preliminary information, seven people died including the suicide bomber, and there are also wounded whose number is being clarified,” the statement said.
The RIA Novosti news agency cited Akhmed Kotiyev, the secretary of the regional security council, as saying that 11 people were wounded in the attack.
Ingushetia’s leader, Yunus-Bek Yevkurov, called the bombing as Muslims celebrate the end of Ramadan a “terrorist” attack. “According to preliminary information it was carried out by a terrorist suicide bomber,” Yevkurov told Interfax, calling the attack “monstrous”.
A severed head found at the scene of the blast was believed to be that of the suicide bomber, Yevkurov said. “We are working on finding out whose head is lying at the scene of the explosion, and we will establish the identity of the bandit,” he said.
The funeral was for a fellow officer killed in a shooting on Saturday evening in the Malgobek district in the north of the region, Interfax reported.
The 26-year-old neighbourhood police officer in Malgobek died in hospital after several attackers shot him with automatic rifles late Saturday, the Ingushetia investigative committee said in a statement.
Yevkurov speculated that the initial shooting of the policeman was intended to be followed by the suicide bombing at the funeral. “Based on the information we have, the armed attack at night on the neighbourhood police officer, who died from wounds in hospital, was specially planned so as to arrange a terrorist attack at the funeral,” he told Interfax.