Twelve Die in Dagestan Violence

Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 8 Issue: 38

Two police officers were killed in the town of Dagestanskiye Ogni in southern Dagestan, RIA Novosti reported on October 3. “A criminal fired from an assault rifle at a Lada car parked outside of the town’s interior department in Ulitsa Lenina on October 2,” a source in Dagestan’s Interior Ministry told the news agency. “A district police officer and an officer from the interior department’s convoy directorate were in the car at the time.” The district policeman reportedly died on the spot and the convoy directorate officer died later in the hospital, while the gunman escaped. Itar-Tass also quoted a local police official who gave an account of the attack. “The police officers came under attack in the town of Dagestanskiye Ogni near the local interior department at 22:20 on Tuesday [October 2],” the official said. “An unidentified man in sportswear ran up to district police officer Telman Kazikhanov and road policeman Magomedsalam Guseinov and opened fire with a pistol.” The news agency reported that Kazikhanov died on the spot and Sergeant Guseinov was rushed to the hospital with multiple wounds.

Itar-Tass reported on October 3 that four residents of the Dagestani village of Verkhneye Kazanishche came under automatic fire as they entered a forest to gather firewood. “Two men were wounded, one of them is in a hospital in critical condition,” a source in the republic’s law-enforcement bodies told the news agency. According to Itar-Tass, police are searching for the gunmen, whom investigators believe were members of the “so-called Buinaksk jamaat.”

The Associated Press reported on September 30 that gunmen had killed a policeman at his home in the Dagestani town of Kizylyurt on September 29. Kavkazky Uzel reported on September 30 that the victim was Magomedrasul Gasanov, the head of the criminal investigation department of the Kizilyurt police department, and that he was killed while traveling home from work. The website also reported that a security guard in the Dagestani town of Sergokala, Askhab Ibragimov, was killed when unidentified gunmen fired on his car from a wooded area.

Meanwhile, a shootout that erupted over a dispute about money on September 30 killed nine people in Dagestan, including a police officer. The Associated Press quoted Dagestani Interior Ministry spokesman Mark Tolchinsky as saying that the gunfire broke out after a group of gunmen came to the village of Gonoda to demand money allegedly owed to them by a resident. According to Tolchinsky, some of those killed in the Gonoda shooting were relatives of Dagestan Interior Minister Adilgerei Magomedtagirov, but it was not immediately known if the dispute was connected to his official activities. Reuters reported on September 30 that “a senior policeman” was among the nine killed in Gonoda, while Interfax said a “local police” officer was among the nine victims.

Kavkazky Uzel reported on September 30 that there was information that relatives of Adilgerei Magomedtagirov were among the victims of the shooting in Gonoda and that the Dagestani Interior Minister, who hails from Gonoda, went to the village following the incident. The website reported that villagers were certain the attackers were members of “illegal armed formations.” It also reported that Dagestani President Mukhu Aliev, republican Prime Minister Zainalov and Magomedtagirov had attended the funeral for the victims of the attack.

Interfax reported on September 29 that Nurmagomed Gadzhimagomedov, the kadi [Islamic judge] of a local mosque in the village of Gubden in Dagestan’s Karabudakhkentsy district was killed when unidentified gunmen fired on him with assault rifles as he was going to the mosque for morning prayers. The news agency, which cited a source in the Karabudakhkentsy police department, reported that the gunmen fled the scene. According to Interfax, “preliminary information” suggested that “members of illegal armed groups” murdered Gadzhimagomedov, who, according to the news agency, had “expressed sharp criticism of Islamic radicals and had spoken in favor of expelling the relatives of members of illegal armed groups from the villages where they live.”

The separatist Chechenpress website on October 2 posted a press release from the Sharia Jamaat, the armed underground Islamist group in Dagestan, claiming that two of its “mujahideen” had become “shaheeds” – martyrs – in a shootout with security forces in the center Shamilkala – the name the Islamic militants use for Makhachkala, the Dagestani capital. The press release claimed that three special forces commandos were also killed in the shootout, which it said lasted for 15 hours, and that five or six homes were burned to the ground. It should be noted that there were no reports in the Russian or Western press of such a gun battle taking place in Makhachkala. The Sharia Jamaat also claimed responsibility for the killings of Nurmagomed Gadzhimagomedov, the kadi of the mosque in the village of Gubden, and Magomedrasul Gasanov, the head of the criminal investigation department of the Kizilyurt police department.

Meanwhile, Kavkazky Uzel reported on October 1 that top Dagestani officials met to discuss the recent terrorist attacks in the republic. The website quoted Dagestani Interior Minister Adilgerei Magomedtagirov as saying that 37 members of “illegal armed formations” have been killed and 53 others have been detained so far this year.