Two security guards were killed in a suspected "terrorist act" when an explosion struck a hydroelectric power station in the Kabardino-Balkaria region of Russia's North Caucasus today, officials said. Russia is trying to contain an upsurge of attacks by rebels in the provinces on its southern flank who took their war to the Russian heartland in March with suicide bombings on the Moscow metro that killed at least 40 people. Rushydro, Russia's largest hydroelectric power producer which runs the station, said in a statement that the powerful blast ripped through part of the Baksanskaya plant. Emergencies Ministry workers were quoted as saying it took almost three hours to contain a fire that followed the blast.
"According to preliminary information, a terrorist act was the cause of the explosion and of the fire. Two guards died, two other people have been taken to hospital," Rushydro said. Media quoted security sources as saying the two guards had been killed in a shootout with rebels. Rushydro said power supplies to consumers had not been interrupted. Baksanskaya is a relatively small power plant built in the 1930s during the Soviet Union's industrialisation drive. * Reuters