Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 6 Issue: 10

On March 7, unknown gunmen shot up a police car on the outskirts of the Dagestani town of Kaspiisk, wounding an officer in the head and shoulder, RIA Novosti reported. On March 6, two police officers in Dagestan’s capital, Makhachkala, were killed when unidentified persons whose documents were being checked got out of a microbus and opened fire with automatic weapons. The attackers also threw a grenade at the police officers. One of the attackers was killed in the ensuing shootout, another was wounded and captured, and five other passengers in the microbus were arrested. Besides weapons and ammunition, police found that the attackers were armed with a list of Dagestani police officers.

The Dagestani Interior Ministry reported on March 7 that security forces had carried out a special operation that day in the Khasavyurt district village of Kadyrotar, during which militants described as “emissaries” of Aslan Maskhadov were killed. Those dead militants were identified as Artur Saritov, the “emir” of the “Khasavyurt Jamaat,” and Alimpasha Temirsultanov, also a member of that group. Police said an operation was carried out in Makhachkala the previous day, March 6, against a group that had killed several police officers. Dagestani Interior Minister Adilgerei Magomedtagirov told journalists that the group was one of those subordinated to Rasul Makasharipov. Makasharipov, head of the Jennet (“Paradise” in Arabic) group is believed to be responsible for the murders of some 40 Dagestani law-enforcers during a mid-January shoot-out with security forces on the outskirts of Makhachkala. Makasharipov was initially reported killed in that battle but subsequently posted a statement on the Chechen separatist Kavkazcenter website identifying himself as the emir of the “Islamic Jamaat ‘Sharia’,” declaring that he was alive and well, and vowing to continue the fight against “the regime of infidels and tyranny in Dagestan” (see Chechnya Weekly, February 9).

On March 8, the Sharia Jamaat posted another statement on Kavkazcenter announcing that two of its “mujahideen” had been killed in battles with Dagestani police. The group added that the Dagestani Interior Ministry had been “shocked to find that we had a detailed execution list of their leaders and staff, with their home and work addresses and telephone numbers.” “Yes, we really do have detailed information about all of the heads, commanders and operational staff of the so-called Interior Ministry, FSB and prosecutor’s office,” the statement continued. “And we will continue systematic work to destroy them, inasmuch as they bear direct responsibility for the persecution and murder of Muslims. However the surprise of the Interior Ministry’s leadership, including the so-called Interior Minister [Adilgerei] Magomedtagirov, over our having such a list is nothing [but more] foul hypocrisy. They, the so-called heads and commanders of ‘the guardians of law and order’, are precisely the ones who are giving us the addresses and itineraries of their employees and competitors in their dog’s work in exchange for a guarantee of personal safety.” Kavkazcenter said that the Sharia Jamaat had given it a list of some 140 employees of the Russian and Dagestani special services along with their addresses and telephone numbers. The website said it was considering publishing it.

Meanwhile, newsru.com reported on March 9 that the Dagestani Interior Ministry was continuing to search for people who “handed over to militants secret information about the identities and home addresses of police and special services staff.”

On March 3, a bomb exploded at a police base in Makhachkala, injuring two police lieutenants and a nine-year-old boy who happened to be walking by at the time of the blast.