Gunmen in Dagestan killed Colonel Magomedarip Aliev, chief of police of the town of Buinaksk, as he was driving through the republic’s capital Makhachkala on June 24. RIA Novosti quoted a source in the press service of Dagestan’s Interior Ministry as saying that unidentified gunmen fired on Aliev’s Mercedes as it was passing by and that Aliev died on the spot. Kommersant reported on June 25 that the attackers first blocked Aliev’s Mercedes at an intersection in the center of Makhachkala and that Aliev received multiple gunshot wounds in the head and chest.
According to Kommersant, Aliev had personally taken part in dozens of special operations targeting in the Buinaksk Jamaat and was the target of an assassination attempt in 2006, apparently after he was put on the jamaat’s hit list. In November 2007, Aliev was among the commanders of an operation in Makhachkala that targeted a group of “Buinaksk Wahhabis” who had killed six police in a July 2006 bombing at a school in Kizilyurt and were hiding in a residence on the outskirts of the Dagestani capital. Seven militants died when security forces, reportedly using armored personnel carriers and a tank, laid siege to the residence (Chechnya Weekly, November 15 and July 19, 2007).
At the same time, Kommersant quoted Dagestani police sources as saying that Aliev, who was known as a man of principle and for having “strict morals,” also had many enemies “among representatives of Dagestani organized crime and big business” and was not on good terms with everyone inside his own police department. Still, an anonymous police investigator told the newspaper that Aliev’s conflict with the “Wahhabis” in Dagestan was personal, and that his “old enemy,” the local jamaat leader Bammatkhan Sheikov, aka Assadulla (the Lion of Allah), was behind all the threats and attempts on Aliev’s life. After the “backbone” of the Buinaksk Jamaat was broken last winter and Assadulla was captured by spetsnaz in a mopping up operation in the village of Gimry, Aliev, according to his colleagues, “somewhat relaxed his vigilance.”
Kommersant quoted police in Dagestan as saying that the choice of time and place for the attack on Aliev, which took place near a café where he had just eaten dinner, was somewhat atypical for the Buinaksk Jamaat, whose members typically ambush their victims either near their homes or while they are traveling. “Their actions are always demonstrative in character,” a member of the team investigating Aliev’s murder told the newspaper. “The Wahhabis typically abandon weapons and automobiles at the scene of the crime, not worrying about covering their tracks. There is simply no sense in that, since they openly—usually via the Internet—take responsibility not only for their own, but for the crimes of others carried out against members of the law-enforcement system.”
It should be noted that the rebel Kavkaz-Center website on June 24 posted a short report on the murder of Aliev, which simply cited an “occupation source in the capital of the vilayat of Dagestan, Shamilkala (the former Makhachkala)” as saying that the “murtad” (apostate) Aliev had been shot to death. There was no claim of responsibility.
Meanwhile, unknown attackers tried to blow up a vehicle carrying servicemen from the 102nd brigade of the Interior Ministry Internal Troops on a road between the villages of Gubden and Urma in Dagestan’s Gubden district on June 21. No one was hurt in the blast, which was apparently caused by an improvised explosive device.
On June 20, a police officer and a civilian were killed when unidentified gunmen fired at a pursuing policeman in Dagestan’s Suleiman-Stalsky region, Itar-Tass reported. According to the press service of Dagestan’s Interior Ministry, the incident took place at the entrance to the village of Svetskoye when unidentified persons in a VAZ-2106 automobile refused to stop at a police checkpoint and a police officer gave chase in a civilian car. Those inside the car that was being chase opened fire on their pursuers, killing the police officer and the car’s owner, who was behind the wheel.
The International Crisis Group issued a report on Dagestan earlier this month which concluded that that an unstable economic situation and corruption are the main reasons for the upsurge in terrorism in the republic (Chechnya Weekly, June 5).