Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 6 Issue: 38

Two Dagestani police officers were killed on the evening of October 10 in a gun battle with a group of rebels, the Regnum information agency reported. The shootout took place near the village of Gimry after members of various police and Dagestani Interior Ministry units blockaded four rebels who were driving in a car in an automobile tunnel connecting Dagestan’s Buinaksky and Untsukulsky districts. The two dead officers were identified as Major Gadzimurad Azizov, head of the Untsukulsky police, and a police lieutenant, Saidbeg Abdulkhalikov. The chief of staff of the Untsukulsky police department, Captain Makhach Saaduev, was wounded in the leg. Ekho Moskvy reported on October 11 that the rebels managed to escape through ventilation shafts in the tunnel. According to the radio station, the village of Gimry was sealed off by tanks and armored personnel carriers and helicopters were being used to search for the rebels.

A battle in the Dagestani capital of Makhachkala on October 9 claimed the lives of four rebels and two policemen, Kavkazky Uzel reported on October 10. According to the website, SOBR and OMON special police commandos were patrolling an area of the city in the vicinity of Dakhadaeva and Pervomaiskaya streets early that morning and came under fire when they attempted to inspect apartment building on Pervomaiskaya street. The commandos called in additional police personnel and armor, after which the apartment building was surrounded and people were evacuated from neighboring buildings. Since the building was located in a part of the city that has old structures with shared courtyards, however, it was not possible to fully surround and isolate the building where the rebels were located, and the building caught fire after it was hit by rounds from grenade launchers and heavy machineguns.

Deputy Dagestani Interior Minister Magomed Gazimagomedov reported that two Interior Ministry officers—Major Sergei Podvalny and First Lieutenant Magomedshamil Abduragimov—were killed during the operation, while two others—Captain Isbula Bagidov and Warrant Officer Gadzhikirim Kerimov—were wounded. Four rebels also died in the fighting. They were identified as Rustam Saidov, Abduzagir Mantaev, Murat Khaibulaev and Abdulkadyr Isaev. All four were Makhachkala residents. A fifth rebel is believed to have escaped. The security forces found in the apartment where the rebels were holed up four Kalashnikov assault rifles with eight magazines, two Makarov pistols with effaced serial numbers, a homemade grenade known as a “khattabka,” five F-1 grenades, four homemade explosive devices, two 200-gram TNT blocks, five Kenwood radio transmitters with chargers, a digital camera, five camouflage uniforms, a laptop computers and $1700 in U.S. currency. Police found an RPG-26, two F-1 grenades and two fake automobile license plates in a garage behind the apartment building belonging to Magomet Magomaev, a resident of Dagestan’s Levashinsky district.

Meanwhile, Kavkazky Uzel Dagestani Interior Ministry forces reportedly killed two members of the group headed by Rasul Makasharipov, the leader of the Jenet underground Islamist group who went on to help found the Sharia Jamaat before being killed in a special operation earlier this year. The two militants, Zakir Dibirov and Murad Ilyasov, had rented an apartment in the city two weeks before the operation. According to Kaspiisk police chief Magomed Lakhiyalov, Dibirov and Ilyasov were involved in the murder of more than ten law enforcement officers and a series of terrorist attacks in Dagestan. Angela Martirosova, deputy head of the Dagestani Interior Ministry’s press service, told Interfax on October 7 that Dibirov was the emir of the “Kaspiisk Jamaat” and was known by the nickname “Yusup.” Members of the Dagestani Interior Ministry’s department to fight extremism and terrorism and two republican OMON units took part in the operation against the two militants, who attempted to escape the blockaded apartment building but were killed. An OMON officer, Isa Ismailov, was wounded in the raid.

Kavkazky Uzel reported on October 10 that after the raid, security forces discovered in the militants’ apartment, among other things, a homemade explosive device, a portable radio transmitter with a charger, and various weapons, including two F-1 grenades, automatic weapons’ cartridges and Borz 9mm machine pistol. They also found a map of Makhachkala and poster declaring “Victory or Paradise!” that was similar to posters that had been left at locations where the Sharia Jamaat had planted explosive devices. Investigators speculated that the militants planned to use the apartment as a bomb-making factory.

The Dagestani Interior Ministry’s press service reported on October 8 that a rebel camp where homemade bombs were manufactured was discovered in woods near the Khasavyurt district village of Pokrovskoe. According to the ministry, the license plate numbers of cars used by the Khasavyurt police chief and a deputy Dagestani Interior Minister were written on some of the bombs. Police also found a Mukha grenade and 15 electronic detonators, and discovered in a cache hidden near the camp four containers containing from 10 to 20 kilograms of ammonium nitrate. The also found objects that were apparently going to be turned into bombs, including a refashioned Tomahawk anti-autotheft system. A police source told RIA Novosti on October 9 that nine large explosive devices had been discovered in a tent in the camp, including two 10-liter, one 20-liter and one 30-liter metal canisters filled with a mixture of aluminum powder and hexogen; two containers filled with explosives and metal elements; four explosive devices ready for detonation; and several dozen detonators. Police said the explosive devices belonged to the rebel group headed by Ismail Yandisbiev.