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    MOSCOW, April 6, 2004. (RIA Novosti) - Mr. Putin's plenipotentiary to the southern federal district Vladimir Yakovlev has taken under control the investigation of the attempt on the life of President Murat Zyazikov of Ingushetia (a Russian republic in the North Caucasus bordering on Chechnya). The attempt on the life of Mr. Zyazikov was made this morning when his cortege was going from the republic's capital Nazran to the neighbouring region. The Ingush president was slightly wounded, and a few of his bodyguards were injured.

    An explosive-laden car was blown up when the cortege was passing by. According to some sources, it was parked on the side of the road, but others claim that it was moving too and went off when it levelled with the president's cortege. Driving the car was certainly a suicide bomber.

    The Ingush interior ministry believes that the attempt on the life of the president is "the result of his active fight against crime and terrorism" in the republic. Mr. Zyazikov had received anonymous threats, the ministry's spokesman told RIA Novosti.

    He did not rule out the "Chechen trace" in this attempted murder. Recently, several Chechen gang leaders and active bandits have been detained in Ingushetia.

    Spokesman for the Ingush president Isa Merzhoyev told RIA Novosti that this attempted murder was aimed to destabilise the situation in the republic now that some positive trends have started to take shape in the republic.

    Mr. Merzhoyev confirmed that the president had only been slightly wounded and was continuing to perform his duties.

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