Fright train derailed in Russia's North Caucasus

17:04, March 12, 2010      

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Some 14 carriages of a freight train were derailed in a blast in Russia's restive North Caucasus republic of Dagestan, Russian media reported on Friday.

The explosion occurred at the Makhachkala-Port-Tarki section of Dagestan's railroad at 09:20 p.m. Moscow time Thursday (1820 GMT), said regional investigators, who were looking into the case as terror act.

Earlier reports said a bomb exploded near a petroleum tank farm and a motor transport depot outside Makhachkala, the regional capital of Dagestan.

"A criminal case has been opened based on charges of terrorism and illegal possession of weapons and explosives. The inquiry is in its initial stages at the moment. Investigators are collecting material evidence," said a local transport police spokesman on Friday.

No one was killed or injured in the blast that damaged parts of the rail track, leaving a crater of 30 cm deep and with a 50-cm diameter, the Interfax news agency reported. Two passengers trains were also delayed due to the incident.

Meanwhile in another North Caucasus republic of Ingushetia, two servicemen were slightly injured in a gunfire attack on a traffic control checkpoint late Thursday.

"Shots were fired with shoulder-held grenade launchers and automatic rifles at the Volga-16 checkpoint outside the village of Yandare," said a source from the republic's law enforcement services.

Russia's volatile North Caucasus republics, particularly Chechnya, Dagestan and Ingushetia, have been plagued by violence stemming from militants and criminal gangs. The government is struggling to contain the insurgency.

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