Sources from the Russian interior ministry announced today that a total of six people, including a policeman and five suspected militants were killed in the Republic of Dagestan, located within the North Caucasus Federal District.The spokesman for the Russian interior ministry in Dagestan, Vyacheslav Gasanov claimed that the leader of the Tsuntinsky gang, Gamzat Magomedov was among those killed. The Russian National Anti-Terrorist Committee said that fighting occurred only a few miles from the Russo-Georgian border, in the settlement of Khutrakh. This is the second major blow for the Islamist militants in Dagestan, after the death of Oki Nazhmudinov a few days ago.
In addition to Magomedov, four other members of the Tsuntinsky gang were killed during the OMON operations. Four of the slain terrorists were identified later, with the identity of the fifth one yet to be confirmed. The three terrorists whose identity was confirmed were Osman Aliyev, Malachi Magomedov, and Aslanbek Magomedov.
Ministry officials later identified the slain officer as 30-year old Artem Garmash, a member of the Republic of Adyghea OMON (Russian Interior Ministry Special Forces). Garmash, who was born in Sochi, Krasnodar Krai had joined the interior ministry forces nine years ago. Garmash was a heavily decorated officer, being awarded orders and medals such as The Order of Marshal Zhukov, and the Cross for service in the Caucasus. He is survived by his wife, and a five-year old daughter.
According to the local sources, the incident occurred in the settlement of Khutrakh, a part of the Shapihsky village council in the Dagestani raion (district) of Tsuntisky. A huge cache of weapons and other equipment, including 5 light machine guns, two grenades and several kilograms of explosives including Ammonium Nitrate were later recovered from the scene by the Dagestani Police. Law enforcement officials claimed that some of the slain militants were responsible for the murder of two Russian frontier agency troops and a civilian, during an attack which occurred near the Russo-Georgian border two years ago.
A few days ago another senior militant figure, Oki Nazhmudinov (better known by his nom de guerre “Bilal”), the leader of the Kizlyar gang was killed in a joint operation conducted by the OMON and the Dagestani local police forces. Nazhmudinov was the primary accused in the 2010 Kizlyar bomb blasts, in which 12 people were killed.