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A judge and a businessman from Chechnya have been found murdered in the neighboring Russian Republic of Kabardino-Balkaria.

Officials from the republic's Interior Ministry say the bodies of businessman Isa Atayev, 47, and Chechen Arbitrary Court Judge Adam Agakhadzhiev, 41, were found in a ditch along the Vladikavkaz-Pyatigorsk highway early on October 9.

The bodies showed evidence of gunshot wounds.

The two had gone missing the previous day.

The North Caucasus is Russia's most violence-plagued region. Attacks against officials, law-enforcement officers, and judges are often linked to organized crime or the Islamist insurgency.

After two unsuccessful separatist wars in Chechnya in the mid-1990s and early 2000s, the Islamist militancy spilled over into other North Caucasus republics, such as Kabardino-Balkaria, Daghestan, and Ingushetia.

Based on reporting by RIA Novosti and Interfax