Folk healer shot dead in North Caucasus: officials

4th September 2011, Comments 0 comments

A folk healer has been shot dead in Russia's Ingushetia region, part of the North Caucasus where militants seek to root out "un-Islamic" practices and establish an independent state, officials said.

The Moscow-based investigators said the bullet-riddled body of Movladi Buzurtanov, 69, was found Saturday near his home in the village of Nesterovskaya.

An official with regional police said Buzurtanov was a folk healer who used traditional practices and made amulets and charms.

"He was practicing something akin to healing," an official with regional police told AFP on Sunday.

Speaking on condition of anonymity because she was not authorised to speak on the record, she said his murder was "most likely" linked to his vocation.

Following two wars against separatists in Chechnya over the past 20 years, violence against government officials and servicemen in the region has become a near-daily occurence.

Healers and fortune-tellers have also come under attack from radical insurgents who consider their practices un-Islamic.

The Moscow-based investigators said in a statement on Saturday that a probe was opened into Buzurtanov's murder but did not provide further details.

The Kremlin fought two wars against separatist rebels in Chechnya in the 1990s, and the violence has since spread into the nearby regions of Dagestan and Ingushetia.

Despite the Russian authorities' tough rhetoric and pledges to root out terror, the violence shows no signs of abating.

© 2011 AFP

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