In this photo taken Dec. 15, 2010, Muslim religious leader Said Afandi speaks at a council of Dagestan's peoples assembly in the regional capital Makhachkala, in the Caspian Sea province of Dagestan, southern Russia. Officials in Russia's violence-plagued Dagestan say a top Muslim religious leader and five of his followers have been killed by a suicide bomber. A spokesman for the republic's police said the female bomber blew herself up at the home of Said Afandi in the village of Chirkei. Afandi was a leader of Sufi Muslims and had often publicly criticized the Wahhabi sect that is the core of the insurgency in the republic.
© AP Photo
MAKHACHKALA, Russia (AP) — The Russian Interior Ministry says a police officer and five suspected rebels have been killed in a gunbattle in the restive province of Dagestan in the North Caucasus.
Vyacheslav Gasanov, a spokesman for the ministry's branch in Dagestan, said the clash occurred Saturday when unidentified gunmen opened fire on police conducting a security sweep.
They killed one policeman and wounded three others. Police fired back, killing three attackers. Another two militants took cover in a private house, but were also eventually killed by security forces.
The Caspian Sea province has become the epicenter of an Islamic insurgency that spread across the region after two separatist wars in Chechnya. Shootings, bombings and police security raids occur on daily basis in Dagestan that borders Chechnya to the east.