Imam shot dead in Russian Caucasus: police

16th September 2011, Comments 0 comments

Gunmen shot dead an elderly imam at home in the troubled Russian Caucasus region of Dagestan, the regional interior ministry said Friday, in the fourth such killing since April.

Two gunmen entered the house of the imam of a village mosque in the region's northeast at 10 pm on Thursday and "shot him with automatic weapons, causing him to die at the scene," the interior ministry said in a statement.

The imam, named as Zainudin Daiziyev, was born in 1927, a regional police spokeswoman told AFP.

The killing was the fourth murder of an imam in the mainly Muslim region of Dagestan since April this year.

The Caspian Sea region experiences almost daily shootings and bombings that officials blame on local criminals and Islamists with links to Chechnya.

Fuelled by endemic poverty and corruption, the militants are seeking to establish an independent Islamic state across the North Caucasus.

© 2011 AFP

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