Moscow: Russian security forces killed
three rebels in the Caucasus, including a leading militant
blamed for planning a suicide strike on a firing range that
embarrassed the military, officials said on Sunday.
The clash took place late yesterday outside a house in
the town of Buinaksk in the troubled Caucasus region of
Dagestan, which has seen a surge in militant attacks in recent
months, the National Anti-Terror Committee said.
"Three bandits who were surrounded in a private house
were neutralised as a result of the clashes, which took place
after they refused to negotiate," it said in a statement.
One of the bodies is suspected to be that of
Sakhratula Nazhmudinov, known by his non-de-guerre of Pushtun
who is believed to have organised the September suicide attack
on the firing range in Buinaksk, it said.
The attack killed four soldiers and wounded 32,
raising questions over how the bomber was able to penetrate so
easily inside what should be a well-protected military
Nazhmudinov is also suspected of being behind
shootings on the civilian population, explosions at industrial
plants and attacks on police.
The violence in Dagestan, the North Caucasus` most
populous region bordering Chechnya, had rattled the Kremlin
and last week gunmen killed seven police in a shooting rampage
in the main city Makhachkala.
The Kremlin has been fighting insurgents in the North
Caucasus since the collapse of the Soviet Union, waging a war
in 1994-1996 against separatist rebels in Chechnya, which
neighbours Dagestan to the west.
After a second war in Chechnya in 1999, the
rebellion`s inspiration moved towards Islam with the aim of
imposing an Islamic state in the region.
Although the war ended in 2000, rebels have waged an
increasingly deadly insurgency with unrest spreading into
other areas of the North Caucasus such as Dagestan and