Religious activist shot dead in Russia’s North Caucasus

The body of a religious activist with gunshot wounds was found on Saturday in Russia’s volatile North Caucasus republic of Ingushetia, a police source said.

Movladi Buzurtanov, born in 1949, was killed by unknown gunmen near his house in the central Ingush village of Nesterovskaya, the source said. The village is known for hosting a school picked by organizers of the 2004 Beslan terrorist attack as an alternative site for the attack.

It was not reported which religion the killed man belonged to. There are two mosques and no churches in the Nesterovskaya village, which means he was likely to be Muslim.

A criminal case has been initiated over the murder. The gunmen, if found, may face life in prison.

Attacks on religious figures are common in the predominantly Muslim North Caucasus as militant violence there continues despite efforts by Russian security services and the government to restore peace in the region, which saw two brutal separatist wars in Chechnya in the mid-1990s and early 2000s.

Russia marked on Saturday the Day of Solidarity in the Fight Against Terrorism, which is associated with the end of the three-day Beslan school siege, in which left 334 hostages dead, more than half of them children.

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