Attacks in Russia's North Caucasus leave 2 policemen dead, 5 wounded

MAKHACHKALA, Russia (AP) — Several attacks in Russia's volatile North Caucasus region have left two police officers dead and another five wounded, officials said Saturday.

The ministry's branch in the Caspian Sea province of Dagestan says one officer was gunned down late Friday on the outskirts of the regional capital, Makhachkala.

Another policeman was killed Friday in the province of Ingushetia west of Chechnya. The gunmen shot and killed him outside an auto repair shop in the region's main city of Nazran.

In another attack Saturday in the province of Kabardino-Balkariya, a truck carrying police hit a radio-controlled land mine, leaving five policemen wounded.

The attacks follow Thursday's suicide bombing near the central market of Vladikavkaz, the regional capital of the republic of North Ossetia, that killed 17 people and wounded more than 140. It was the most serious attack in Russia since the March subway bombings in Moscow that killed 40 people.

Funerals were held in Vladikavkaz Saturday for some of the victims. About 200 people also rallied in front of the regional government's headquarters, demanding that authorities offer a better protection for the population.

A car exploded in a courtyard of an apartment building in Vladikavkaz on Saturday, hurting no one but raising fears of a new terror attack. Authorities said the blast wasn't a terror attack, and apparently was linked to criminal disputes.

Russia's ethnically diverse North Caucasus region has been plagued by violence stemming from two separatist wars in Chechnya and fueled by poverty, official corruption and police abuses.