Four militants killed in Russia's restless Dagestan
Russian security forces Monday killed four militants in the restless North Caucasus republic of Dagestan, which has been the scene of almost daily unrest, Interfax reported.
The four men were stopped for a routine car inspection when they opened fire on the police, the news agency cited security sources as saying.
The Russian policemen suffered no injuries in the exchange, which came one day after security force reported killing eight militants in the predominantly Muslim republic nestled between the Caspian Sea and Chechnya.
In another Monday attack in Dagestan, the head of a small local village was hospitalised after an unknown assailant shot him in the foot, the news agency said.
Russia is fighting a Muslim insurgency on its southern periphery and deadly attacks on government officials in Dagestan, the North Caucasus' most populous region, as well as neighbouring Chechnya and Ingushetia are a regular occurrence.
The Kremlin has been fighting insurgents in the North Caucasus since the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union, waging a war in 1994-1996 against separatist rebels in Chechnya, which neighbours Dagestan to the west.
After a second war in Chechnya in 1999, the rebellion's inspiration moved towards Islam with the aim of imposing an Islamic state in the region.
Although the war ended in 2000, rebels have waged an increasingly deadly insurgency with unrest spreading into other areas of the North Caucasus such as Dagestan and Ingushetia.
© 2010 AFP