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Ax-Wielding Teen Injures Seven At Siberian School


Law enforcement officers stand guard near a local school where a student with an ax attacked other pupils and a teacher in the Siberian city of Ulan-Ude on January 19.

A teenage student at a school in southeastern Siberia has attacked a group of younger students with an ax, injuring at least six other people before trying to kill himself.

It was the third attack within a week by teenagers who have turned on other students at Russian schools, prompting authorities in Moscow to investigate whether there are possible links between the cases.

Deputy Communications and Mass Media Minister Aleksei Volin said on January 19 that steps were being taken to block social media groups that incite school violence.

Volin said his ministry and Roskomnadzor, the Russian federal executive body for media and telecommunications, have "agreed on blocking such groups."

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters in Moscow on January 19 the President Vladimir Putin has previously said the freedom of the Internet "should be preserved."

But Peskov said "we cannot overlook the fact that the Internet can also be evil and that this evil sometimes takes ugly and tragic forms in our lives. This gives rise to questions."

The attack on the morning of January 19 took place in Sosnovy Bor -- a village where a garrison for Russian airborne troops is located in the Buryatia region, about 20 kilometers east of Ulan-Ude.

Svetlana Petrenko, a representative of the local branch of the Russian Investigative Committee, described the attacker as a ninth-grade student at the school.

Petrenko said the boy acted alone when he attacked a group of seventh-grade students and a teacher with an ax and set fire to the school using a bottle of inflammable liquid.

Vyacheslav Timkin, head of Buryatia’s Regional Center for Disaster Medicine, said "six children and one woman" were injured, including the attacker.

Petrenko said the suspect was detained after attempting to commit suicide and was taken to the Emergency Medical Hospital in Ulan-Ude, the Buryatia region's capital.

Others injured in the incident were taken to a military hospital in Sosnovy Bor.

The Prosecutor-General’s Office in Buryatia said criminal proceedings on charges of attempted murder have been initiated in the case.

Authorities also were investigating whether school officials in Sosnovy Bor acted with negligence.

Meanwhile, Interfax reported on January 19 that authorities in Moscow were examining possible links with two other school attacks in Russia during the past week, including the possibility that the teenage attackers were members of social media groups that incite school violence in Russia.

The Buryatia attack came four days after 12 people were injured at a school in the Russian city of Perm in what officials say was a pre-planned knife attack by two masked teenage boys.

The boys, one a 10th grader at School No. 127 in Perm and the other a former student there, were charged with attempted murder.

In Russia's Chelyabnisk region, a criminal case has been opened against a 16-year-old boy charged with stabbing another student with a knife at a school in Smolnoye on January 17.

With reporting by TASS and Interfax

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