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Russian Officials: At Least 85 Dead In Nalchik Fighting

The fighting left bodies in the streets Nalchik, Russia; 14 October 2005 (RFE/RL) -- Russian authorities say the situation is under control today in Nalchik, the capital of the Russian Caucasus republic of Kabardino-Balkariya, where at least 85 people were reported killed during an attack by Chechen separatist militants, RFE/RL's Russian Service reported.

Russian Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliyev said early today that two groups, comprising a total of eight militants, are continuing to resist security forces in the town. Nurgaliyev said authorities will not wait forever for them to surrender. He made no mention of any hostages the militants may be holding.

Authorities say 61 militants were killed in the fighting that erupted after the militants launched a large-scale assault yesterday on police and government buildings in Nalchik.

At least 12 members of the security forces and 12 civilians were reported to have been killed, and at least 70 other people injured.

Seventeen militants are reported to have been detained by security forces. Chechen rebels claimed responsibility for the assault. Akhmad Zakaev, deputy prime minister of the Chechen separatist government, told RFE/RL that the attack was carried out by an armed group connected to the separatist leadership.

(RFE/RL Russian Service/AP/AFP/ITAR-TASS)

See also: Kabardino-Balkaria: A Deteriorating Situation and Situation Remains Tense In Kabardino-Balkaria