Russia's skinheads attack Azeri school girl in Moscow

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Moscow, Feb 24 (UNI) In another incident of racially motivated attack, a group of 13 young people belonging to Russian neo-Nazi group skinheads mercilessly beat up a senior school girl of Azeri ethnicity in the western part of the city.

The Moscow police department told Interfax news agency today that all of them were detained.

Five of the 13 young men confessed to their being members of the skinheads organisation. Charges of robbery have been brought against one of them, a police spokesman said.

So far, this year, 23 people have been killed in racial attacks in Russia, more than half of them in the capital alone. Sixty-seven people died in racial attacks in 2007.

Moscow mayor Yury Luzhkov has appealed for calm, but community leaders and human rights groups have called for urgent measures to control the rising racist violence.

The Amnesty International described recent incidents of xenophobia in Russia as ''out of control''.

The victims were Tajiks, Kyrgyzs, Uzbeks, Azeris-- potentially migrant workers from the Central Asian countries, employed on construction sites and market stalls on low wages.

Skinheads are often accused of racist violence. But racist crimes are also being committed by those who feel economically and socially disadvantaged by the influx of immigrants.

Footages of attacks appear on the Internet and are watched by thousands of youngsters across Russia.

The Heads of State of several CIS countries raised their citizens' concerns at the CIS summit in Moscow last week.

President Vladimir Putin, in response, pledged Russia will continue fighting against xenophobia.

UNI XC SKB BST1846

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