Russian forces kill top militant in Caucasus

27th March 2012, Comments 0 comments

Russian forces on Tuesday killed a senior militant in the North Caucasus where radical groups are seeking to impose an Islamist state, officials said.

Alim Zankishiyev, besieged in a house in Nalchik, the main city of the Caucasus region of Kabardino-Balkaria, died in a shoot-out with Russian forces after refusing to surrender earlier in the day.

"The bandit was offered to lay down arms and give himself up to the authorities," Russia's National Anti-Terrorist Committee said in a statement.

"In response he put up armed resistance and was neutralised during the storming of the house."

Zankishiyev, also known by his nom de guerre Ubaida, had over the past year been in charge of coordinating militant attacks in the Caucasus regions of Kabardino-Balkaria and Karachayevo-Cherkessia, the statement said.

He had been on the most wanted list since 2006. Over the past year he had been responsible for over 30 attacks and murders of policemen in Kabardino-Balkaria.

Russia is fighting a simmering Islamist insurgency in the Caucasus, mostly in Dagestan and Ingushetia, but Kabardino-Balkaria, which is known for its ski resorts, has also seen a rise in attacks in the past years.

© 2012 AFP

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