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NAZRAN, Ingushetia -- An Islamic cleric was killed in the Russian North Caucasus republic of Ingushetia when unknown assailants opened fire on his home in the city of Nazran on April 19, RFE/RL's North Caucasus Service reports.

Gunmen attacked Musa Esmurziyev's house with grenade launchers and submachine guns.

Esmurziyev, who also practiced a traditional form of healing, died of gunshot wounds.

Attacks on official religious figures are not uncommon in Ingushetia.

In July, 2007, militants shot and killed Vakha Vedzizhev, an adviser to the local government on religious matters and a student of Eastern medicine. Vedzizhev was believed to be close to the former president of Ingushetia, Murat Zyazikov.

In a separate incident, also on April 19, unidentified gunmen opened fire on the house of a police chief in Ingushetia's Sunzhensky district, killing the man's sister and injuring his brother.

Ingushetia is an impoverished region where violence has flared in recent years as a consequence of the conflict in neighboring Chechnya.
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