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Four Police, Four Suspected Militants Killed In Chechnya

Four police officers and four suspected militants have been killed in fighting in Russia's North Caucasus republic of Chechnya.

Chechen security officials said the casualties occurred in a series of clashes between police and the rebels in the past two days in the southern Vedeno region.

Chechen strongman leader Ramzan Kadyrov confirmed the death toll but denied reports that more than a dozen police officers were injured in the fighting.

He said police were searching the mountainous area for other militants.

After two separatist wars in Chechnya in the 1990s, the insurgency there has been largely suppressed, although security forces periodically clash with small groups of gunmen. But Islamic militancy has spilled into other North Caucasus republics.

Based on reporting by AP and Interfa