Russian security forces prevented over 80 terrorist attacks and neutralized more than 500 militants in 2009 in Russia's volatile North Caucasus, President Dmitry Medvedev said on Thursday.
Medvedev underlined that "criminal attacks in Ingushetia, Dagestan and Chechnya show that terrorism is the main threat for society."
The president said security forces would "continue systematic work to neutralize criminal groups, their leaders and people who carry out terrorist attacks." Medvedev added that terrorism had to be fought by the authorities and society together.
The mainly Muslim regions in Russia's North Caucasus were plagued by violence last year, with almost daily attacks on security forces and officials.
Deputy Interior Minister Arkady Yedelev said on January 16 that 235 police officers and interior troops died in the region in 2009, with 686 injured as recorded terrorist acts, including suicide bombings, rose sharply.
Following a January 6 suicide bomb attack on a police compound in Dagestan that killed five and wounded up to 19 people, Medvedev ordered the Federal Security Service to tighten security across the North Caucasus.
The president has also established the North Caucasus Federal District and appointed Krasnoyarsk governor and former business executive Alexander Khloponin as deputy prime minister and president's envoy to the volatile North Caucasus. Analysts describe Khloponin as a "crisis manager" for the region.
MOSCOW, January 28 (RIA Novosti)