Baku: Azerbaijan authorities said on Wednesday they had arrested six men accused of being Islamic militants and planning "terrorist acts" in the mainly Shi'ite Muslim country.
The ex-Soviet nation`s security ministry said in a statement that the men were planning to sow disorder with the aim of establishing "a sharia-based state in Azerbaijan."
The men also allegedly killed one person, and robbed several others, who they considered to be "infidels", since November 2014.
Nestled between Iran and Russia`s restive north Caucasus region, oil-rich Azerbaijan has long been concerned about the spread of radical Islam -- especially among the large number of unemployed youth who feel left behind despite the country`s recent oil boom.
Authorities in the tightly-controlled Caspian nation have also cracked down on moderate clerics and their supporters who have spoken out against the government of strongman President Ilham Aliyev.
After decades of Soviet rule, Azerbaijan emerged as one of the most secular states in the Islamic world, becoming an important energy supplier to the West and an ally in the NATO-led campaign in Afghanistan.