Russian troops are seen taking position in this file photo.    — File Photo by Reuters

MOSCOW: Russian troops on Sunday reported killing 49 militants in a massive security sweep that followed angry comments from President Vladimir Putin about raging violence in the troubled North Caucasus.

The National Anti-Terror Committee said the operation was conducted across several republics of the volatile Muslim region and resulted the removal of some of the most “odious” guerrilla commanders and their followers.

“The coordinated action helped terminate the activities of several odious gang leaders, gang members and their associates, substantially damaging the system under which the bandits operate,” Interfax quoted a committee statement as saying.

The committee said the “large-scale and massive” raids involved both local and federal troops and that 90 militia bases had been destroyed. However, gave no details about the timeframe for the operation or when it started.

Putin held a meeting on Friday on the North Caucasus in which he berated officials for failing to do enough to bring the region under full control after it witnessed two post-Soviet wars for the independence of rebel Chechnya.


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