Militants Killed in Makhachkala Shootout

Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 8 Issue: 39

Two militants were killed during a joint operation carried out by the Dagestani branch of the Federal Security Service (FSB) and the republic’s Interior Ministry in Dagestan’s capital, Makhachkala, Kommersant reported on October 10. According to the newspaper, Dagestani security officials learned that two members of the Makhachkala jamaat, headed by Shamil Gasanov, planned to carry out an attack in the city on October 8 and police went after them. One of the suspected rebels, Zalimkhan Musaev, was captured, but the second, Ulluby Balatkhanov, opened fire on police, wounding one policeman before escaping. Security forces tracked him down to an apartment building in the Dagestani capital where he and another militant were holed up and another shootout ensued, this one lasting several hours. Kommersant reported that the security forces refrained from using grenade launchers and flamethrowers, which have been used in other such security operations, but did fire from a heavy machinegun mounted on an armored personnel carrier into the apartment in which the militants were hiding. Ultimately, security forces drilled holes in the floor of the apartment in which the rebels were holed up and detonated plastic explosives.

Inside the apartment, security forces found the bodies of Balatkhanov and Yury Nesterov, a 17-year-old native of the Yamalo-Nenetsk autonomous district who moved to Dagestan several years ago and became a militant after converting to Islam. Law-enforcement officials believe the two were involved in the murder on October 4 of Edik Geraev, deputy commander of a special regiment of the Makhachkala police department’s traffic police unit, and the murder on October 6 of Nabi Gitinomagomedov, chief of the GIBDD (road safety inspectorate) of the Shamilsky district police department.

Itar-Tass on October 10 quoted the press office of Dagestan’s FSB branch as saying that the republic’s law-enforcement agencies had broken up a “criminal group with inter-regional ties” that had been illegally manufacturing firearms and ammunition and selling them both inside and outside of Dagestan.

Interfax reported on October 10 that unidentified gunmen opened fired on OMON officers near the village of Gubden in Dagestan’s Karabudakhkent district. “Police officers came under attack during a search operation: two police officers were wounded,” a law-enforcement source told the news agency, adding that a rifle, cartridges, and a portable radio were found on the scene. Interfax also reported that four people suspected of aiding militants were detained in Dagestan’s Khasavyurt district. The press service of Dagestan’s Interior Ministry told the news agency that the detainees were believed to have provided food to members of “illegal armed groups” and to have been involved in “agitation campaigns” among youth.