Insurgency-related violence –and, apparently, simple criminal violence– continued in the North Caucasus this week, particularly in the republics Kabardino-Balkaria and Dagestan.
In Kabardino-Balkaria, four gunmen charged into a café in the town of Chegem on February 2 and shot a group of traffic policemen who were having lunch there. Four of the policemen were killed on the spot and one was wounded. The wounded policeman died in the hospital on February 3, bringing the death toll in the attack to five. The attackers reportedly stole the policemen’s weapons (www.kavkaz-uzel.ru, February 3).
Today (February 4), Kabardino-Balkaria’s parliament, along with its government and members of its Public Chamber, approved an appeal to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, the Prosecutor General’s Office and the heads of the Investigate Committee and Federal Security Service (FSB), calling on them to take additional measures to increase security in the republic in response to a “build-up of terrorist threats by extremist forces” (www.kavkaz-uzel.ru, February 4).
An improvised explosive device (IED) detonated on a section of railway line in Dagestan’s Kizlyar district on the evening of February 3 as a freight train approached. The blast damaged three railway ties and 50 centimeters of rail while breaking windows on the locomotive. It did not, however, derail the train and no one was hurt in the incident. The explosion caused a number of trains, including passenger trains, to be delayed. On January 31, an explosive device detonated on a section of the Timergo-Shamkhal railway in Dagestan as a freight train was passing by. No one was hurt in that blast, but it caused delays on the railway line (www.kavkaz-uzel.ru, February 4).
On February 3, a blast in Dagestan’s capital Makhachkala killed the deputy head of the architectural department of the city’s Sovietsky district, Magomed Izudinov. The explosion took place near Sovietsky district administration building on Makhachkala’s General Tankaev Street. There was contradictory information about the incident: according to one version of events, a homemade bomb detonated on the roof of Izudinov’s car; according to another, the IED was in a package given to Izudinov by a person who also died in the blast. The editor of the information and politics section of the Dagestani newspaper Chernovik, Mairbek Agaev, told the Kavkazsky Uzel website that the package was supposed to contain money. Agaev noted that Izudinov’s work mainly involved the demolition of illegally constructed buildings in Sovietsky district. Earlier, the chief editor of Chernovik, Nadir Isaev, told the website that architectural work, including the demolition of buildings, is among the most corrupt and criminally-penetrated spheres of administration in both Makhachkala and Dagestan generally (www.kavkaz-uzel.ru, February 3).
On February 2, two men were killed in a special operation in the village of Shamkhal in Makhachkala’s Kirovsky district after security forces blockaded them in a home. The dead men were identified as Magomed Dalgatov, the leader of the Kizilyurt rebel group, and Mamadi Gadzhibekov, a resident of the village of Sultanyangiyurt. According to the National Anti-Terrorism Committee, Dalgatov had escaped from prison and was on the federal wanted list for involvement with “illegal armed formations” –meaning rebel groups (www.kavkaz-uzel.ru, February 2).
On the evening of February 1, an explosive device detonated in the Maidan café in the Dagestani city of Kizlyar. No one was hurt in the blast, which blew out the café’s windows and damaged a wall. At around the same time, an explosion took place at a food store located in a private home in Kizlyar. The bomb blast injured the owner of the home and two members of his family, who were hospitalized (www.kavkaz-uzel.ru, February 2).
On January 31, two explosive devices were discovered in the turbine pit of the Irganaisky hydroelectric power plant in Dagestan’s Untsukulsky district during planned repair work. The devices were defused by bomb disposal experts (www.kavkaz-uzel.ru, February 1). Last September 9, a powerful IED was discovered and defused at the plant, where a fire had been reported two days earlier. While officials said at the time that the fire was caused by an accident, the rebel Kavkaz Center website reported that three bombs had been placed at the power plant, two of which went off (EDM, September 10, 2010).