Senior police officer killed in restive province in southern Russia

Gunmen killed a senior police officer in southern Russia near Chechnya, officials said Sunday. Several gunmen late Saturday ambushed the vehicle of Anatoly Kyarov, the head of anti-organized crime department in the province of Kabardino-Balkaria, police said in a statement. The assailants riddled it with bullets and killed him on the spot in the regional capital, Nalchik, the local police said in a statement. The attackers also shot and killed Kyarov's driver, and wounded a policeman and two passers-by, police said. The gunmen fled. Like other regions in Russia's volatile North Caucasus near Chechnya, Kabardino-Balkaria has been plagued with increasing violence in recent years - some stemming from criminal gangs and some from separatist rebels who have sought to spread their fight against federal forces beyond Chechnya's borders. Rights groups say oppressive government policies and brutal police treatment of suspects have fomented violence and Islamic extremism.