MOSCOW, August 2 (RIA Novosti) – A court in Russia’s North Caucasus republic of Dagestan has sentenced militant Ruslan Ismailov, implicated in a deadly terrorist attack last year in the republic’s capital, Makhachkala, to 16 years in a maximum security penal colony, the Investigative Committee said Friday.
Over a decade after a war against Islamist separatists in Chechnya, Russian security forces and police continue to fight militants in the volatile North Caucasus.
Investigators said Ismailov was a member of extremist group Vilayat Dagestan, from October 2010 to June 2012.
Ismailov, “as a member of the criminal group, took part in committing a terrorist attack by blowing up two vehicles,” the committee said in a statement, adding that he also inflicted damages exceeding 20 million rubles ($600,000).
Ismailov resisted detention but later agreed to cooperate with authorities. He was found guilty of participating in a criminal group and committing an act of terrorism. In addition to his prison sentence, he was fined 100,000 rubles ($3,000).
Other Vilayat Dagestan members have been put on a wanted list.
Last year, Russian media reported that the country’s National Anti-Terrorism Committee killed the organizer of the terrorist attack as well as another militant linked to it. News agency RBC identified the organizer as Gussein Mamayev, born in 1984.
The Islamist insurgency, once confined largely to the republic of Chechnya, has spread across the North Caucasus in recent years. Attacks on security forces, police and civilians are reported regularly in the neighboring republics of Dagestan, Ingushetia and Kabardino-Balkaria.