(CNN) -- Two blasts -- the second coming after police and passersby had gathered at the site of the first -- killed seven people and wounded 18 Tuesday evening in the Russian republic of Chechnya, according to the Russian news agency RIA Novosti.
The state-run agency said the first blast occurred when officers attempted to detain a suspected militant in the Chechen capital of Grozny. About 30 minutes after that explosion, a second blast hit the same area after people had gathered there, RIA Novosti said.
The news agency quoted Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov as saying five police officers, an emergencies ministry official and a civilian died in the two blasts.
Rebels in Chechnya started out fighting for independence in the 1990s, but in recent years the fight has been aimed more at imposing Islamist rule and asserting their authority in the area.
The standard of living in the southwestern republic is poor compared with the rest of Russia. Unemployment is rampant and infant mortality is high. In addition, the Chechen population of about 1 million is mostly made up of Sunni Muslims, who maintain a distinctly separate cultural and linguistic identity from Russian Orthodox Christians.