It is a day of mourning today in Russia’s Caucasus region for the people killed in a massive assault by militants.
Russian forces say they “eliminated” more than 70 rebels linked to the Chechnya independence cause after they launched coordinated attacks on eight police, state security and other strategic buildings.
Officials claim around 24 police officers and 12 civilians were killed in the town of Nalchik.
One local resident said “everything happened without warning, people didn’t realise what was going on.”
The brazen nature of the daylight raid by Chechen separatists and Muslim insurgents has called into question Moscow’s claims to be in control of the Caucasus region.
The authorities rapid response to the crisis was in sharp contrast to last year’s deadly attack on a school in the town of Beslan.
But it remains unclear whether it will deflect public criticism over another failure by security forces to prevent a rebel assault in the region.