TSENTOROI, Russia — A shootout between the Chechen president's personal protection detail and suspected separatist insurgents left 19 people dead early Sunday, including five civilians, officials and media reports said.
At least 12 suspected insurgents and two security officers were killed when the rebels entered Tsentoroi, Ramzan Kadyrov's home village, his spokesman Alvi Karimov told The Associated Press. TV reports said five civilians were killed in the crossfire.
Kadyrov, who is thought to regularly supervise security operations in the field, was in the village at the time and directed the counter-offensive, Karimov said.
"We let them into the village so they couldn't escape," Kadyrov told Channel One television, which showed him examining the bodies of the suspected militants strewn across a road. "We forced them into a place where they could be eliminated," he said.