Russian President Boris Yeltsin yesterday declared a state of emergency in two regions of southern Russia to try to stop the latest explosion of ethnic warfare over land in the Caucasus. The declaration comes after fighting broke out Friday between Ingush and Ossetians in North Ossetia. Ingush militants are demanding control of part of North Ossetia, and are opposed by the Ossetians.
Yeltsin appointed Vice Premier Georgy Khizha to govern the conflict zone temporarily. The decree bans the activity of political groups, increases security at key facilities, and allows for searches and for control of the media.
Seven people have been killed, and scores of Russian servicemen taken hostage since the violence began. Russian paratroopers and Interior Ministry troops were called in Sunday to help separate Ingush and Ossetian fighters in Prigorodny, near the capital of Vladikavkaz, the Tass news agency said.
Clashes near Vladikavkaz were reported yesterday, despite a cease-fire agreed to by both sides, according to Tass.