Five police officers have been killed and 12 others wounded after a bomber blew himself up in the capital city of the southern Russian Republic of Chechnya, Russian investigators say.
The Investigative Committee, Russia’s leading federal investigative agency, said in a statement that the casualties came on Sunday when a policemen “foiled an attempt” by the assailant to attack a concert hall in Grozny.
A 19-year-old resident of Chechnya is believed to be the attacker, the statement added.
Chechen leader, Ramzan Kadyrov, has been quoted as saying that the bomber, who was wearing a police uniform, detonated the explosives when police moved to stop him from going through metal detectors outside the concert hall.
The incident reportedly occurred several hours before the beginning of the concert, which coincided with Kadyrov’s birthday.
He said the bomber “wanted to ruin people’s joy on their day of celebration, but he has not succeeded.”
Meanwhile, Russia’s Internal Affairs Ministry noted that there were no immediate reports of civilian deaths or injuries.
“At the cost of their lives, the police saved the lives of thousands of people,” Russia’s ITAR-TASS news agency quoted Russian Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev as saying.
Volgograd, a city in Russia’s North Caucasus region, was also hit by bombings last year.
At least 18 people were killed in a bomb blast in Volgograd’s main railway station on December 29, 2013, followed by a second explosion on a trolley bus during rush hour on December 30, which left 16 dead.
Violence erupted in the volatile Republic of Chechnya in the aftermath of the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. The republic has witnessed two brutal wars between Chechen separatists and the Russian army in the 1990s and early 2000s.