MOSCOW, February 17 (RIA Novosti) – Law enforcement officers have killed three suspected militants in the Russian North Caucasus republic of Dagestan, the Investigative Committee reported on Sunday.
The militants were spotted early on Sunday during a security operation in a forest near the village of Pokrovskoye in the Khasavyurt district in northern Dagestan.
The militants opened fire on the law enforcement officers “and were killed by retaliation fire. There are no casualties among the police,” the Investigative Committee said.
The identities of the gunmen are being established.
In a separate episode, an unknown assailant opened fire on police officers in the Khasavyurt district on Saturday evening and was killed by return fire. One policeman was wounded in the clash, the Interior Ministry reported.
“When police officers tried to stop a VAZ-2114 car for document check, a man inside the car fired at them,” a ministry spokesman said. “He was killed by return fire.”
“One police officer has been hospitalized with wounds,” he added.
An investigation is underway.
The Islamist insurgency, once confined largely to the republic of Chechnya, has spread across the North Caucasus in recent years. Attacks on security forces, police and civilians are reported regularly in the neighboring republics of Dagestan, Ingushetia and Kabardino-Balkaria.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said in mid-October that more than 300 terrorists were killed in the North Caucasus “in the past few months.” “Terrorism” in official Russian politics is used loosely and in preference to more neutral terms, such as “insurgency.”
Over a decade after the war against Islamist separatists in Chechnya ended, Russian security forces continue to fight militants in the volatile region.