Moscow: Authorities in Chechnya said on Friday they had averted several major attacks as they announced the detention of four youths trained as suicide bombers in the increasingly volatile region.
A spokesman for Chechnya`s strongman leader Ramzan Kadyrov said police on Thursday detained four men around 18-20 years old, who had planned to carry out suicide attacks at police headquarters and a mosque in the region`s main city Grozny as well as a mosque in the town of Shali.
"We are talking about people who had been preparing large-scale, high-profile terror acts," the spokesman, Alvi Karimov, said, adding the Chechen leader has personally overseen the operation.
The detained men told authorities they had been trained as suicide bombers by two Arabs, he said.
"They said they had been told they would go to paradise," Karimov said.
Police confiscated several explosive belts and three Kalashnikov assault rifles among other ammunition, he added.
Dressed in fatigues, Kadyrov was shown on Russian television Friday scolding the detained youths as he held a suicide bomber`s belt in his hands.
In neighbouring Ingushetia, the local leader Yunus-Bek Yevkurov warned earlier this week that several suicide bombers were on the loose and appealed for extra vigilance.
In the past several months, suicide bombing has returned to haunt Russia`s increasingly bloody northern Caucasus region as the weapon of choice for an Islamist-led rebellion.
In a meeting with top Muslim clerics last month, President Dmitry Medvedev said there was a need for a comprehensive youth programme as criminal groups still managed "to pull young people under their wing."