ROSTOV-ON-DON, Russia – Insurgents fired on a minibus carrying security forces Tuesday in breakaway Chechnya (search) and then set off a bomb when a second vehicle came to help, killing 14 people, including two children, regional officials said.
Russian news reports, citing unidentified officials, said one of the children was killed while riding a bicycle past the scene. Television pictures showed the twisted and charred metal remains of one vehicle.
Chechen Interior Minister Ruslan Alkhanov said the bomb was equivalent to 171/2 pounds of TNT, according to the ITAR-Tass news agency.
Chechen Interior Ministry official Akhmed Dakayev said at least 19 people -- all civilians -- were wounded in the attacks in Znamenskoye in the northwest of the mainly Muslim southern province, the Interfax news agency said.
He said 14 people were killed -- 11 security troops and three civilians, including two children aged 13 and 14.
Dr. Zaina Akherukhanova told The Associated Press by telephone the attack left the town in fear.
"There were 20 wounded in our hospital and some wounded were taken to other hospitals. The residents are in panic. Many are leaving the place," she said.
A truck bomb on a government compound in Znamenskoye in May 2003 killed at least 60 people.
Moscow-backed Chechen President Alu Alkhanov (search) accused rebel warlord Shamil Basayev of ordering the attack.
"Terrorists under Basayev's command are trying to destabilize the sociopolitical situation in the republic," he said, according to the RIA-Novosti news agency.
Russian forces withdrew from Chechnya in 1996, when the first Chechen war against separatist rebels ended in a stalemate. They returned in 1999 and quickly took control of Chechnya's northern plains, but have failed to drive rebels from the mountainous south.
Znamenskoye has been in a region under the control of Russian forces since the first months of the second Chechen war. The guerrilla raid again demonstrated Moscow's inability to end the decade-long separatist insurgency.
An official from the Interior Ministry for southern Russia (search), speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of his position, said the minibuses were carrying Interior Ministry forces.
He said one child was killed, but did not have details.
President Vladimir Putin (search) told a Cabinet meeting the "latest tragic events" showed the need to increase security in the region.
"We need to do it and as soon as possible," he said in televised remarks.