Source AP ©

Prosecutors: 2 suspects detained in Russian cafe fire that killed 10

Authorities have detained two men suspected of setting a fire that killed 10 people in a provincial Russian cafe, prosecutors said Tuesday.

The victims' bodies were found after a fire early Monday gutted the small cafe and bar at a market in the city of Orsk, near the Kazakh border 1,400 kilometers (870 miles) southeast of Moscow.

Investigators have established that the suspects argued with a group of people at another bar, tracked them to the cafe and set fire to its door after dousing it with gasoline, said Galina Mayorova, senior aide to the regional prosecutor, reading from statement from the prosecutor's office.

A gas canister exploded during the blaze, she said.

The statement stressed that the crime was not motivated by ethnic bias, but said that that the people the suspects had argued with were from former Soviet republics outside Russia, seeming to suggest there could have been an ethnic element involved.

Mayorova said she did not know the nationalities of the people involved in the argument, but that some of the victims were apparently not ethnic Russians, including some with Armenian-sounding names. Seven men and three women were killed, and the victims included the cafe's owner, employees and patrons, officials said.

Russia is plagued by significant ethnic tension and has seen a marked rise in xenophobia and racism in recent years, with a series of attacks on foreigners, Jews and dark-skinned migrants, and human rights groups and minority communities say authorities often downplay the ethnic element in attacks and other violence.

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