Imam, school principal shot dead in Russia's Dagestan

10th July 2011, Comments 0 comments

A village imam was shot dead during evening prayer in Russia's restive Dagestan region late Saturday, the region's interior ministry said.

Imam Magomed Makhdiyev was shot in the back and head by an unidentified gunman in Karamakhi village mosque during evening prayer, Dagestan's interior ministry said on its website on Sunday.

Makhdiyev died at the scene, the ministry said.

It was the second known murder of an imam in less than a month in Dagestan, where religious and educational leaders appear to be increasingly targeted as Russia fights an Islamist insurgency in the North Caucasus.

A school principal was targeted early Saturday in a different region of Dagestan. Sidikullah Akhmedov, who worked in the Sovetskoye village school, died on the spot near his home from wounds to the stomach, the ministry said.

Islamist website, affiliated to the Caucasus Emirate group, called Akhmedov an "adversary of Islam" who opposed the wearing of the hijab in school.

Dagestan has experienced some of the deadliest violence in Russia's mostly Muslim southern periphery since peace was largely restored in neighbouring Chechnya just under a decade ago.

© 2011 AFP

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