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Ingush Leader Sacks His Cabinet Over Poverty

President Yunus-Bek Yevkurov
MOSCOW (Reuters) -- The president of Russia's troubled Ingushetia, Yunus-Bek Yevkurov, sacked his government on October 5, saying the cabinet had failed to alleviate the region's widespread poverty.

Ingushetia, a tiny republic in Russia's North Caucasus, has been rocked by a string of rebel attacks, including one in August when a truck packed with explosives blew up at police headquarters, killing at least 25 people and wounding 136.

Yevkurov, who was badly wounded in a suicide bomb attack in June, fired his cabinet "for its unsatisfactory work in resolving social and economic problems of the republic," presidential spokesman Kaloi Akhilgov told Reuters by telephone.

Yevkurov, a battle-hardened former paratrooper general installed in the region by the Kremlin a year ago, has repeatedly said that apart from extremist Islam it is deep-rooped local corruption and poverty that push many local young people into the hands of Muslim rebels.

"One of the main tasks of the government was namely to fight these negative issues," Akhilgov said. "And because they did not cope with the task, the cabinet was sacked."

Aleksei Vorobyov, the head of Ingushetia's Security Council, will serve as acting government head until Yevkurov appoints a new cabinet, he said.

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

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.