Islamic State has claimed responsibility for a series of attacks in different areas in Russia’s restive province of Chechnya. Chechen authorities said that they had killed at least five assailants who had tried to attack policemen and arrested one who tried to blow up a suicide vest.
The terrorist group's Amaq website announced, "Fighters from the Islamic State attacked Chechen police officers and elements in Grozny and Shali in Mesker-Yurt.”
Ramzan Kadyrov, Chechnya's president, said on his official Telegram social-networking account that one of the attacks saw a suicide bomber detonate his explosives in Mesker-Yurt, on the outskirts of the capital - Grozny. The attack injured several policemen, but the attacker survived and was taken to a hospital.
Dzhambulat Umarov, information minister in the regional government, told the Tass news agency the attackers were aged between 11 and 16. He said the Islamic State has increasingly focused on teenagers in the region in its efforts to recruit supporters.
Chechnya's interior minister Ruslan Alkhanov said the assailants "attempted to destabilise the situation in Chechnya" but have been stopped. He said no officers were killed in the ensuing action.
Russia’s province of Chechnya has had historically separatist ambitions. After two separatist wars in the 1990s, Moscow has provided generous subsidies to the current president to help rebuild the region.
Those with separatist leanings are now drifting towards the Islamic State. They conduct periodic attacks at high-profile venues in Chechnya but are rarely successful.
Though the region has been relatively calm in recent years, international human rights groups have accused Ramzan Kadyrov of rampant abuses, including arbitrary arrests and extrajudicial killings by his feared security forces.
Chechnya lies in Russia’s south-west region and borders with Georgia. Most Chechens are Sunni muslims and speak their own language, not related to the Russian language.