On August 12, an apparent arson attack in Khuchada, a village in Dagestan’s Shamilsky district, sparked a fire in the home of the imam of the local mosque, killing him, his wife and their three children (www.newsru.com, August 12). On August 11, the first day of Ramadan, unidentified attackers fired on a car in which Magomedvagif Sultanmagomedov, the former head of the Islamic education department of Dagestan’s Spiritual Board of Muslims, was riding. Sultanmagomedov, who headed the Mahachkala-TV company and the Nurul-Irshat publishing house, later died in the hospital from a gunshot wound to the chest. Another man wounded in the attack was hospitalized in critical condition (www.newsru.com, August 12; www.interfax.ru, August 11). Unnamed associates of Sultanmagomedov were quoted as saying that the shooting was carried out by Islamic militants and that the murder was ordered by “those who want to unleash a war in Dagestan” (www.kommersant.ru, August 12).
On August 11, just hours after Sultanmagomedov was shot, President Dmitry Medvedev removed Ali Magomedov as Dagestan’s Interior Minister and replaced him with Abdurashid Magomedov, who had been serving as Dagestan’s Deputy Interior Minister (The Moscow Times, August 12). Earlier that day, Medvedev had been at a conference in Sochi devoted to the theme of Dagestan’s socio-economic development, at which Dagestan’s President, Magomedsalam Magomedov, asked Medvedev to bolster the security forces deployed in the republic because of “an upsurge of terrorist activity” there. Magomedov also proposed setting up units to conduct operations in Dagestan’s wooded and mountainous areas, stating that rebels are operating in a larger area and extorting money from local businessmen. He said about 300 people have been affected by extremism-linked activities since the start of the year (nearly twice as many as during the same period last year) and that the number of policemen killed during counter-terrorism operations has doubled while the number of rebels killed has dropped by one-third. Magomedov also said police have become less effective in investigating terrorism-related crimes (Interfax, September 11.
Six policemen were wounded in Dagestan’s Kazbeksky district on August 6 when a group of 10-13 gunmen armed with automatic rifles and grenade launchers attacked a police post on the outskirts of the village of Leninaul (www.kavkaz-uzel.ru, August 7).
In Kabardino-Balkaria, two gunmen fired on a policeman in the town of Narkala in the republic’s Urvansky district on August 12. The policeman was not hurt in the attack and returned fire, but the attackers managed to escape (www.kavkaz-uzel.ru, August 12). On August 10, policemen shot and killed two men who opened fire on police when their car was stopped for a document check. The two men, described as suspected rebels, were identified as 19-year-old R. Kunashev and 24-year-old A. Khadziev, both of them local residents (www.kavkaz-uzel.ru, August 10).
The chief inspector of the Dagestani Interior Ministry’s staff, Colonel Imin Ibragimov, was killed in an attack on a group of tourists at the Dzhily-Su health resort in Kabardino-Balkaria, on the republic’s administrative border with Karachaevo-Cherkessia. A resident of the Rostov Oblast city of Shakhty was also killed in the attack. The attackers –reportedly six armed men dressed in camouflage uniforms and wearing masks– escaped in a Toyota Land Cruiser Prado that they stole from a vacationer (www.lenta.ru, August 10).
On August 7, unidentified attackers shot up a car belonging to a policeman in Kabardino-Balkaria’s Maisky district. No one was hurt in the incident. On August 6, unidentified gunmen shot two policemen in Kabardino-Balkaria’s Baksan district. The policemen, identified as Lieutenant Edik Sizhazhev and Senior Lieutenant Arsen Dumanov, subsequently died of their wounds in the hospital (www.kavkaz-uzel.ru, August 7).
In Ingushetia, a policeman was wounded in an attack in the republic’s main city, Nazran, on August 12. The incident took place in the center of Nazran, when unidentified attackers fired on a car in which the policeman, identified as Aslan Kuzigov, was driving. That same day, security forces killed a man they described as a local militant leader in a special operation. The operation took place near the village of Plievo in Ingushetia’s Nazran district and the militant, identified as Kharun Pliev and described as the deputy head of the armed underground movement in the district, was reportedly seriously wounded when he refused to surrender. He subsequently died of his wounds (www.kavkaz-uzel.ru, August 12).
On August 11, a policeman was wounded when gunmen fired on a police car in Ingushetia’s Malgobeksky district. The policeman, indentified as Dzhamaleil Merzhoev, was hospitalized in critical condition (www.kavkaz-uzel.ru, August 11).
In Chechnya, a suspected rebel died when a car exploded in the republic’s Nadterechny district on August 12. The Chechen interior ministry reported that the suspect was transporting munitions. According to one account, the car was stopped by police and the driver opened fire on them, after which the police returned fire. The vehicle burst into flames and then exploded. A Chechen interior ministry serviceman was slightly injured in the explosion (www.kavkaz-uzel.ru, August 12).
On August 9, two workers who were cleaning a building in Grozny’s Staropormyslovsky district were killed when a mine detonated. The Kavkazsky Uzel website noted that over the last month and a half, some 30 highly explosive objects, including rockets, were found during subbotniks– “voluntary” cleaning days – in the Chechen capital. According to official statistics, during the two military campaigns in Chechnya, more than 700 civilians were killed by accidental explosions of various munitions (www.kavkaz-uzel.ru, August 10).
Meanwhile, in a statement posted on the rebel Kavkaz Center website on August 12, the Riyadus Salikhin martyrs’ battalion claimed responsibility for a small explosion on August 9 near the Moscow headquarters of Gazprom, Russia’s state-controlled natural gas monopoly. “The aim of this operation was to show Kremlin businessmen… that the war is not over,” the statement read, adding “On the contrary: it has come to your homes and your comfortable offices.” According to the statement, the bombing was ordered by Chechen rebel leader Doku Umarov. The home-made bomb reportedly contained 3-5 kilograms of TNT and exploded on the roof of a garage several hundred meters from Gazrpom’s headquarters. No one was hurt in the incident, which came amid an apparent power struggle within the leadership of the rebel Caucasus Emirate, which Umarov has led as “emir” (www.kavkazcenter.com, Reuters, August 12).