Russia forces kill two suspected militants in Dagestan raid

Reuters News
Posted: May 20, 2012 5:38 AM
Russia forces kill two suspected militants in Dagestan raid

MOSCOW, Russia (Reuters) - Russian security forces killed two suspected militants in a gunfight at a private house in its restive North Caucasus province of Dagestan, Interfax reported on Sunday, quoting local authorities.

Police stormed the house in a village near Khasavyurt, a town about 80 km (50 miles) west of the provincial capital of Makhachkala. Two unidentified gunmen were killed in a shootout with security forces, a local law enforcement official said.

"They opened fire in response to calls for surrender," the official was quoted as saying.

More than a decade after federal troops toppled an Islamist government in Chechnya, also in the North Caucasus, security forces are fighting militants whose ranks are swollen by recruits angry over poverty, clan feuds and pervasive corruption.

Mainly Muslim Dagestan faces almost daily shootouts and bombings. Twin bombings earlier this month killed 12 and wounded more than 100 people near Makhachkala. Such attacks are widely seen as a sign that the Kremlin's efforts to curb insurgency have largely fallen short.

The insurgents want to create an Islamic state in the region and say they were behind a suicide bombing at Moscow's Domodedovo airport that killed 37 people in January 2011 and twin bombings that killed 40 people on Moscow's metro in 2010.

(Reporting by Alexei Anishchuk; Editing by Louise Ireland)