MAKHACHKALA, August 8 (RIA Novosti) – Three suspected militants were killed Saturday in Russia’s violence-plagued North Caucasus republic of Dagestan, anti-terrorism officials said.
The militants were spotted near the eastern village of Manas and opened fire after law enforcement officers told them to surrender, the Anti-Terrorism Committee said in a statement.
One of the three was the head of the so-called Caspian group of Islamic militants that is suspected of plotting attacks on security forces and civilians, it said.
Dagestan, a multiethnic and predominantly Muslim province of nearly 3 million people on the oil-rich Caspian Sea, is a focal point of the Islamic insurgency in the North Caucasus, and shootings, bombings and police operations against militants occur there almost daily.
The Islamist insurgency originated in the early 1990s in the neighboring republic of Chechnya after a series of bloody post-Soviet separatist wars and has spread across the North Caucasus in the past decade.
Human rights groups accuse security forces and police of fueling the insurgency through extrajudicial killings, abductions and other abuses.
Violence spikes in North Caucasus