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Ingushetian Leader Warns Locals Of Suicide Bomb Attacks

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev (left) met with Ingushetia's Yunus-Bek Yevkurov in Sochi on August 28.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev (left) met with Ingushetia's Yunus-Bek Yevkurov in Sochi on August 28.

MOSCOW (Reuters) -- The head of Russia's troubled Ingushetia has warned the region's people of possible suicide bomb attacks, an unusual move that followed the security forces' failure to prevent several deadly attacks.

Speaking on local television, Ingushetian President Yunus-Bek Yevkurov urged people to be vigilant and to report to the police any suspicious cars or trucks seen in their neighborhood.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev berated Ingushetian police last month for being unable to defend themselves after a suicide bomber rammed a truck full of explosives into the gates of the region's main police station, killing at least 25 people and wounding 136.

Medvedev sacked the Ingushetian interior minister and sent his own tough deputy interior minister from Moscow to take over control of Ingushetia's security forces from local officials.

Yevkurov, still recovering from a suicide bomb attack on his car in June, said in his TV address that "several suicide terrorists have arrived in the republic."

"It is also possible that three cars, two trucks, and a metal container with a volume of three to five tons may be used to commit acts of terror," Yevkurov said on a local television channel, shown on the official website

"We call on all residents of the republic to be vigilant, and in order to save the lives of many innocent people to report on suspicious cars or containers to the nearest police stations," said the Kremlin-backed former paratroop general.

"Every courtyard must be searched, and local residents must treat this with understanding."

Yevkurov and other leaders of the turbulent North Caucasus region warned Medvedev on August 28 that an Islamist insurgency had permeated all spheres of society.

Human rights activists say militant Islam imported from abroad is as much to blame for the rise in violence in the region as poverty, official corruption, and the repressive methods of the authorities that push young people to join the rebels.

The Kremlin is worried both by the immediate threat of destabilization in the North Caucasus, and the possibility that radical Islamism may spill over into other regions in Russia, which is home to some 20 million Muslims.