Counter-terrorist operation regime declared in Russia’s North Caucasus

"The regime was imposed at 4am. Search for militants is underway," the spokesperson said.

A counter-terrorist operation regime has been declared in Dagestan’s Karabudakhkentsky district, a spokesperson of National Anti-Terrorism Committee (NAC) operational headquarters in Dagestan told TASS on Tuesday.

"The regime was imposed at 4am. Search for militants is underway," the spokesperson said.

The Dagestan Republic is part of the North Caucasus Federal District. It also comprises Kabardino-Balkaria, Ingushetia, the Karachay-Cherkess Republic, Chechnya, North Ossetia and the Stavropol Territory.

Reports that have been arriving from Dagestan over the past few months look pretty much like frontline wires: accounts of security sweeps against underground Islamic militant groups have been pouring in alongside news of arrests of high-level republican officials.

"The growing terrorist activity makes the situation still worse. Dagestan over the past few years has firmly held number one place in the North Caucasus as to the scale of activity by underground militant groups", the chief of the Caucasus Studies Centre at the Russian Institute of Strategic Studies, Artur Atayev, told TASS. "The percentage of Salafites who make no secret of their attitude to the federal authorities is very large," Atayev said. Of late, ever more field commanders preferred to vow allegiance not to the Imarat Kavkaz group, but straightly to the Islamic State, which is prohibited in Russia.

According to the National Anti-Terrorism Committee, 243 gunmen were neutralized in Russia last year, including 38 chieftains, 644 militants and their henchmen were detained. Security forces conducted 74 counter-terrorism operations in the North Caucasus , seizing 272 home-made explosives and a significant number of firearms, with 219 criminals becoming subject to criminal penalties.

The most large-scale activities came in 1999, when gunmen of warlords Shamil Basayev and Khattab attacked a settlement in Dagestan's Botlikh region in August, killing 73 people and wounding 259. A month later some 2,000 Shamil Basayev's gunmen crossed the administrative border between Chechnya and Dagestan, occupying several settlements in the Novolaksky district. All terrorists were killed, but federal losses amounted to 243 people.

First published by TASS.

All rights reserved by Rossiyskaya Gazeta.

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