MOSCOW, July 8 (Reuters) - Three policemen were shot and killed early on Tuesday in Baksan, a small town in Russia’s North Caucasus region of Kabardino-Balkaria, news agency Interfax said quoting local law enforcement.
"Criminals attacked a highway patrol post situated in the so-called Baksan circle and shot dead three members of the police with an automatic weapon," police said.
Two wars in nearby Chechnya since 1994 have impoverished and scarred the North Caucasus, and sporadic violence across the region happens almost daily, but attacks in Kabardino-Balkaria are less frequent than other provinces.
In January unidentified assailants in Kabardino-Balkaria attacked and killed the regional head of a police unit charged with fighting organised crime. Another police officer from the same unit was shot dead in May at a car wash.
It is unclear if these attacks are linked to a wider low intensity rebellion across the north Caucasus against Russian forces or to local criminal groups. (Reporting by Chris Baldwin, editing by Dominic Evans) (firstname.lastname@example.org, Moscow Newsroom +7 495 775 1242))