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Russia

Security tightened after five bodies discovered in Stavropol region

Russia has placed security forces on alert in the southern Stavropol region after five bodies were found with gunshot wounds. The incident has sparked further security concerns ahead of the Sochi Winter Olympic Games.

Russia's Olympic Committee had previously said no more could be done to safeguard the Sochi Winter Olympic Games as every measure possible was already in place. Earlier this week, officials said around 37,000 personnel were in place to provide security at the Games.

However, the discovery of five corpses in two separate districts outside the regional capital, Stavropol, on Wednesday, prompted Moscow to place regional security forces on combat alert.

The bodies were found in two different cars and were reported to have gunshot wounds. A spokesman for Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) in Stavropol also confirmed an unidentified explosive device was found near one of the vehicles.

The Stavropol region is a gateway to the North Caucasus, where Russia faces an insurgency by Islamist militants who in July threatened to try to stop the Sochi Games going ahead. The Black Sea resort is on the western edge of the Caucasus mountains where insurgents want to create an Islamic state.

Volgograd attacks spark major security alert

Russia's President Vladimir Putin vowed to annihilate all "terrorists" in the country following twin suicide bombings in the southern city of Volgograd last month. At least 34 people were killed in the bombings, the first at the central railway station and the other on a trolleybus traveling through the city centre.

Further security measures implemented around Sochi include special permits for cars to enter the city or access Olympic venues, as well as drones monitoring the region and patrols by army troops.

lw/msh (AFP, Reuters)

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