MAKHACHKALA, October 2 (RIA Novosti) – Four armed gunmen and three police officers were among those killed over two days of clashes in Russia’s restive North Caucasus republic of Dagestan, investigators said Wednesday.
Officials said government forces killed three militants Wednesday morning in the course of an anti-terrorism operation initiated after an attack on police officers a day earlier.
The local branch of the Investigative Committee said three local residents working as police guides were also killed in the violence, and several other local people have been injured.
The National Anti-Terrorism Committee identified of one of the gunmen killed as Zalimhkan Rabadanov, born in 1978, and described him as being head of an armed group in Dagestan’s Levashinsky District, where the fighting took place.
Attacks on security forces, police and civilians occur regularly in the North Caucasus, generated by ethnic, religious and political rivalries, as well as poverty and corruption. The violence is also fed by an Islamist insurgency, which has been especially resilient in Dagestan and fueled a series of bloody post-Soviet separatist wars in the neighboring republic of Chechnya.