Gunmen kill 3 Russians in Ingushetia -police

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NAZRAN, Russia, Oct 14 (Reuters) Gunmen killed three ethnic Russians today in Russia's southern region of Ingushetia, security sources said, the latest in a spate of targeted murders.

Several Russians have been murdered in the past few months in Ingushetia, which borders the volatile region of Chechnya, although no group has claimed responsibility.

''There are two corpses on the street, a man and a woman from Russia,'' the source told Reuters, adding that two other people had been injured in the daytime attack in the small town of Karabulak, a few kilometres from Ingushetia's biggest town of Nazran.

Later, another source in the Ingush government told RIA Novosti news agency that one of the injured had died from her gunshot wounds and that the three dead were a man, his pregenant daughter-in-law and a female neighbour.

Last month gunmen killed a Russian doctor in Nazran and, in a separate attack, a man and his two children. Earlier this summer assailants murdered a female teacher and her two children and a bomb also exploded at their funerals which a television crew was filming.

The Kremlin has described the killings as a campaign to deter people from returning to the north Caucasus region which it wants to present as peaceful after years of unrest.

Russian soldiers have fought Chechen rebels in two wars since 1994 and the violence has spilled over into neighbouring provinces. The focus this year has shifted firmly to Ingushetia where reports of gun attacks, bombs and murders had intensified to an almost daily rate.

The Kremlin tripled the number of federal soldiers stationed in Ingushetia to try and stem the violence, which has dropped off slightly over the last few weeks.

REUTERS SYU BST2135

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