2 Islamic Militants Killed in Dagestan


Large-scale combat operations have ended as federal forces -- and increasingly the Kremlin-backed Chechen administration's security services -- have established fragile control over most of the region. Yet rebels continue to ambush police and security forces and keep up a steady stream of land mine explosions.


(21.10.2005)

Security forces killed two prominent Islamic militants and detained two others in a special operation against rebels in Dagestan, authorities said Wednesday. One police officer was also killed.

An additional four police and security service officers were wounded in the operation, the regional Interior Ministry said.

Up to five suspected militants had been surrounded in a dormitory on the outskirts of the Dagestani city of Khasavyurt, near the border with Chechnya.

One of the dead rebels, Sultan Abdiyev, was the so-called emir or rebel spiritual leader of the Shelkovsky district of Chechnya, said Abdul Musayev, a spokesman for the Dagestan Interior Ministry.

The other, Takhir Badayev, was considered a close aide to radical Chechen warlord Shamil Basayev, he said.

Up to 30 suspected militants, meanwhile, targeted police officers in six separate attacks overnight in Ingushetia, a region east of Chechnya, Interfax reported. One officer's brother was wounded.

In Chechnya, two federal servicemen were wounded in separate blasts from homemade explosives equivalent in force to 100 to 250 grams of TNT, said Ruslan Atsayev, spokesman for the Chechen Interior Ministry.

In Grozny, police found the bullet-riddled bodies of two men in the basement of a ruined building, the Interior Ministry said.

The victims had been taken from their home by armed gunmen, the ministry said, citing witnesses.

The North Caucasus has seen increasing violence and a growing number of attacks against law enforcement forces. Some of the attacks are blamed on criminal gangs and others are blamed on spillover violence from Chechnya's continuing turmoil.

Federal forces retreated from Chechnya in 1996 after a 20-month war that left the Caucasus republic de facto independent.

They returned in 1999 after Chechen rebels raided Dagestan and after a series of apartment house bombings in three Russian cities, including Moscow, that killed some 300 people.

Large-scale combat operations have ended as federal forces -- and increasingly the Kremlin-backed Chechen administration's security services -- have established fragile control over most of the region. Yet rebels continue to ambush police and security forces and keep up a steady stream of land mine explosions.

On Tuesday, Kremlin-backed Chechen President Alu Alkhanov said 104 Chechen policemen and 113 militants had been killed this year, Interfax reported.

Von: 20 October 2005, http://www.themoscowtimes.com by Arsen Mollayev

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