Russian forces crack down on prison mutiny led by terrorism suspects, state media reports

Russian special forces quelled a short-lived mutiny at a provincial detention center on Sunday, killing detainees, some accused of terrorism, who had escaped from their cells earlier in the day, Russian state media reported.

Six inmates awaiting court appearances at a pre-trial detention center in the southern city of Rostov-on-Don managed to take control of the facility, state media reported. Armed with knives, the suspects took two guards hostage, reports said.

A video posted on local Rostov news channels and reposted by some Russian officials appeared to show a man identified as one of the detainees brandishing a knife and demanding a car leave the detention center for an unspecified destination. In the video, a detainee is seen holding a black flag associated with the Islamic State. The video could not immediately be verified.

Security officers had surrounded the detention center on Sunday morning. Shortly afterward, Russian state media published a short statement from the country's prison service saying that security officers had stormed the facility, “liquidated” the mutinous inmates and freed the hostages unharmed.

The governor of Rostov and top federal officials have not yet commented on the episode.

The Rostov mutiny comes less than three months after attackers staged Russia's deadliest terror attack in more than a decade at a concert hall near Moscow. The attack, which killed nearly 150 people, occurred despite US intelligence services providing a detailed warning to Russian counterparts of the impending plot.

The Islamic State took responsibility for the attack on the concert hall. President Vladimir V. Putin, however, placed the blame on Ukraine and Western intelligence services, without providing evidence.

Putin's critics say those accusations were an attempt to deflect his government's failure to address the threat of Islamic terrorism as their attention shifted to the war in Ukraine.

Sunday's attack could renew public discussion of that threat, fueled by the Kremlin's crackdown on Muslim separatists in Russia and Putin's support for Islamic State's enemies in Syria.

At least one Russian official has publicly questioned how Rostov inmates managed to escape their cells and overpower guards.

“Evidently they had been planning this for a while,” Andrei Medvedev, a Russian propagandist and regional deputy in Moscow, wrote on the Telegram messaging app on Sunday. “Where is the protocol for dealing with particularly dangerous inmates?”

Hwaida Saad contributed to the reporting.

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