An empty freight train was bombed and derailed on the outskirts of Dagestan’s capital Makhachkala on the evening of March 11. A source in the transport police department of the North Caucasus branch of Russian Railways told ITAR-TASS that the blast left a crater about 30 centimeters (11.8 inches) deep and damaged a small section of railway. No one was hurt in the incident (www.kavkaz-uzel.ru, ITAR-TASS, March 12).
On March 10, the body of a teacher at a local madrassa in the Dagestani village of Yasnaya Polyana was found with two bullet wounds in the head. This was just the latest murder of clergy in Dagestan this year: on January 12, the imam of a local mosque in the village of Buglen in Dagestan’s Buinaksk district, Nazim Magomedov, was shot to death, while on January 11, the deputy imam for a local mosque in Kizlyar, Akhmed Ibragimov, was murdered. As the Kavkazsky Uzel website noted, there were also several attacks on religious figures in Dagestan last year.
Meanwhile, on March 9, personnel of the Dagestani branch of the Federal Security Service (FSB) and interior ministry jointly carried out an operation in which weapons and ammunition were seized in the city of Khasavyurt. Two people were arrested in the operation, during which two automatic rifles, a pistol, silencers and ammunition were confiscated. On March 8, unidentified attackers fired from a car at a shop along the Babayurt-Khasavyurt road. No one was hurt in the incident. On March 7, bomb disposal experts defused an improvised explosive device (IED) that was discovered in a utility room on the grounds of a cemetery in the Dagestani village of Novomekhelta. On March 6, a suspected militant was killed during a special operation in the Dagestani city of Derbent. The slain militant was identified as 22-year-old Islamudin Alikuliev (www.kavkaz-uzel.ru, March 10, 11; Interfax, March 9).
On March 11, two servicemen were slightly wounded when unidentified attackers fired automatic rifles and a grenade launcher at the Volga-16 police checkpoint, located on the Kavkaz federal highway on the outskirts of the village of Yandare in Ingushetia’s Nazran district. That same day, unidentified attackers fired automatic weapons at a gas station in the Ingush town of Karabulak. No one was hurt in that incident. On March 10, gunmen fired a grenade launcher at the home of Khavadzha Sapralieva, the head of administration of the village of Ekazhevo in Ingushetia’s Nazran district. No one was hurt in that attack (www.kavkaz-uzel.ru, March 12).
A suspected militant was killed in a shootout with police in Nalchik, the capital of Kabardino-Balkaria, on March 9 after police officers attempted to detain him near a student café. A policeman and a passerby were wounded in the shooting. ITAR-TASS quoted an unnamed investigator with the republican prosecutor’s office as identifying the slain alleged militant as 28-year-old Valery Esezov, a resident of the village of Khasanya (www.newsru.com, March 8). On March 5, police discovered and destroyed an IED on the outskirts of the village of Nartan in Kabardino-Balkaria. They also found an antitank grenade and 5.45 millimeter cartridges nearby (ITAR-TASS, March 6).
Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov told journalists on March 11 that four militants were killed during a special police operation near the village of Nokhtch-Keloi in Chechnya’s Shatoi district. Kadyrov said three of the slain militants had already been identified and that no police or law-enforcement personnel were injured in the operation (RIA Novosti, March 11). That same day, in the Chechen town of Argun, a bomb exploded in a car belonging to Akhyad Musanigov, the head of the territorial district police, as he was getting into the vehicle. Musanigov was hospitalized with shrapnel wounds (www.kavkaz-uzel.ru, March 11).
In an interview with the Interfax news agency on March 7, Kadyrov called the killing of rebel ideologist Aleksandr Tikhomirov, aka Sheikh Said Buryatsky, an “exclusively good sign.” Kadyrov added that there is “every reason to be certain that Umarov’s turn has come” – a reference to Doku Umarov, the Chechen rebel leader and “emir” of the Caucasus Emirate.
In the Interfax interview, Kadyrov also claimed that Buryatsky was an agent of Western intelligence services. “Aleksandr Tikhomirov was a religiously well-trained worker of Western special services, and was also a psychologist whose task was to influence a certain part of youth not only in the North Caucasus, but also, via the internet, in all of Russia,” the Chechen leader said (www.newsru.com, March 7).