Religious activity priority theory behind Dagestan theologian murder

The power of the explosive device which killed theologian Said Atsayev in Dagestan a day earlier was equivalent to 200 grams of TNT, the Investigative Committee told Interfax.

"Investigators regard Atsayev's religious activity as a priority theory behind his murder," the Committee said in a statement obtained by Interfax on Wednesday.

A 30-year-old woman called Aminat Kurbanova (Saprykina) came to the house of well-known religious figure Said Afandi Atsayev in the village of Chirkei in the Buinaksk district at around 4 p.m. on Tuesday and activated the explosive device attached to her body. The explosion killed Atsayev and six other people who were nearby and caused significant damage to the property.

"The power of the explosive device was equivalent to approximately 200 grams of TNT, the bomb was filled with shrapnel in the form of metal pieces," the Investigative Committee said.

"It was possible to identify the female suicide bomber by her head blown off by the blast," a source from Dagestan's law enforcement authorities told Interfax. "The preliminary data is that she is Aminat Saprykina from Makhachkala, who converted to Islam and was a wife of an insurgent," the source said. The woman "had been known to the police as a militant's wife who could be trained as a suicide bomber," he said.

A criminal inquiry has been launched under the Russian Criminal Code Article 205 (terror attack), Article 105 part two (the killing of two and more persons), Article 222 (illicit arms trafficking), Article 223 (illicit manufacture of a weapon, ammunition and explosive devices) and Article 167 (intentional damage to property), the ministry said.

Sheikh Said Afandi was buried at a local cemetery on the same day. His funeral was attended by up to 150,000 people, reports said.

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