Sharia Jamaat Threatens Dagestani Police, Officials, Clergy

Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 9 Issue: 47

The Associated Press reported on December 6 that police in Dagestan stormed a two-story 10-room hotel near the republic’s capital Makhachkala where armed militants were blockaded and that two rebels and a policeman died during the operation. The news agency quoted Dagestan’s Interior Ministry as saying that the action was launched after police failed to negotiate a surrender with the militants. Earlier reports said there were some four militants with uncertain affiliation blockaded in the hotel and that it was not clear if any guests or employees were inside at the time. According to some Russian media reports, the incident took place in the village of Novyi Khushet, near Makhachkala, and two militants and a Federal Security Service (FSB) operative were killed in the battle. Interfax reported that the militants had been blockaded in the Urguba roadside hotel on the Kavkaz federal highway.

On December 7, the Sharia Jamaat posted a statement on the Kavkaz-Center website saying that Dagestani policemen, whom it called the “enemies of God,” had been given enough time to quit their jobs and “repent” and warned that anyone working in the “law-enforcement agencies of the infidel state” will be destroyed. It similarly threatened the republic’s pro-Russian authorities and official clergy, the Spiritual Board of Muslims of Dagestan, referring to the latter as “Satan’s henchmen.”

On December 5, Kavkaz-Center reported that the head of the Caucasus Emirate, Dokka Abu Uthman (aka Dokka Umarov) had appointed Umar Sheykhullayev (aka Amir Mu’adh) as commander of the Dagestan Front of the armed forces of the Caucasus Emirate. Sheykhullayev replaces Amir Abdul Majid, who was killed in September.

Meanwhile, an explosive device went off in the Dagestani city of Khasavyurt on December 3, killing a street cleaner (see Mairbek Vatchagaev’s piece in this issue).