Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 6 Issue: 19

Kavkazky Uzel reported on May 14 that more than 1,000 people blocked a highway in Dagestan’s Kizlyar district to demand the release of Magomed and Gazimagomed Gairbekov brothers. The two were arrested on suspicion of having carried out the February 16 bombing in the center of the town of Kizlyar of an armored Mercedes carrying Amuchi Amutinov, head of the Dagestani branch of the Federal Pension Fund, and Akhmednabi Magdigazhiev, secretary of Dagestan’s Security Council. That blast reportedly killed two passers-by and wounded four others, including bodyguards, who were traveling in the second car. Amutinov and Magdigazhiev were unhurt thanks to the Mercedes’ armor plating (see Chechnya Weekly, February 23).

The Kizlyar demonstration was not the first demanding the release of the Gairbekov brothers, who were arrested on March 15. On April 28, more than 150 people from the Tsuntin and Kizlyar districts assembled in front of the offices of the republican prosecutor’s office in Makhachkala to demand their release. Most of the demonstrators were from Kvanada, the brothers’ native village. The brothers’ lawyer, Rashid Djafarov, who was among the demonstrators, told journalists that his clients had been beaten and tortured and that Magomed had tried to commit suicide. In addition, Djafarov said that Gazimagomed Gairbekov had been taken out of prison the previous day, ostensibly for questioning by the FSB, but had not been returned and was missing. The demonstrators later gathered in front of the FSB offices in Makhachkala.

Meanwhile, there have been fresh attacks on law-enforcement and other officials in Dagestan. On May 14, a car belonging to a police colonel, Tagir Kazikhanov, was blown up in Kizlyar, Newsinfo.ru reported. Kazikhanov was walking out of his house when the blast occurred. According to one report, he was wounded by the bomb, while according to another, he was not. On May 13, a bomb was detonated as a police patrol car was passing by in Makhachkala, slightly injuring one of the policemen traveling inside. On May 12, soldiers of the 136 Motorized Rifle Brigade in the city of Buinaksk, who had been posted near the site of a terrorist bombing that took place in April, opened fire on a group of teenagers, killing one of them. On May 11, a police officer with the road patrol service in the town of Karabudakhkent was wounded when unknown gunmen attacked him. The police officer managed to return fire and drive off the attackers, Kavkazky Uzel reported on May 12.

Dagestani FSB officials reported on May 16 that bomb specialists from their agency had defused an explosive device discovered on the outskirts of Makhachkala alongside the road leading to the airport, utro.ru reported.