VLADIKAVKAZ, Russia (AP) – A senior Chechen police officer in an organized crime task force was killed in a car-bomb attack Sunday, a year after his son was shot dead in front of fellow students, officials said.

Yaragi Nikayev, an investigator with a police unit that battles organized crime in Chechnya and surrounding regions, died when his car exploded after he tried to start it, the Interfax news agency reported. An official in Chechnya’s Moscow-based government, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed Nikayev’s death.

Nikayev’s wife, who had come out of their home to see him off, was also injured in the powerful early morning blast in the Chechen capital, Grozny.

A little over a year ago, according to Interfax, unidentified gunmen fatally shot Nikayev’s son outside the university where he was studying.

Chechnya is plagued by organized crime, including kidnappings and illicit trade in oil products trade, in addition to the fighting that continues nearly five years after Russian forces entered the southern region for the second time in a decade in a bid to crush separatists.

A total of at least 12 Russian servicemen were killed and 28 others were wounded in rebel attacks, mine blasts and clashes in the previous 24 hours, the government official said.

Two of the deaths came in a clash outside Grozny on Saturday that also left five rebels dead, the official said, while two servicemen were killed and 13 wounded when an explosion rocked their convoy in the city of Argun.

Two servicemen died when their military vehicle hit a land mine, and the other six were killed in rebel attacks on fixed Russian positions in the Chechnya, he said. There were 20 such attacks in the past day, the official said.

AP-ES-07-25-04 1244EDT



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