By Ria Novosti
The murder early on Saturday of an imam in Dagestan was the latest in a series of deadly attacks on religious figures in Russia’s volatile North Caucasus republic.
A police spokesman said “unknown assailants” fired automatic weapons through the windows of the home of Imam Magomed Saipydinov in the Kislyarsky district village of Yasnaya Polyana. The imam died at the scene of the attack.
A statement by Russia’s National Anti-Terrorism Committee said Saipydinov had received death threats from militants for his “uncompromising stance” and condemnation of “the murders of innocent people”.
The killing is the sixth of an Islamic religious figure in Dagestan in the last 12 months. On January 11, the deputy imam of a mosque in the district’s capital of Kizlyar was found dead with a gunshot wound to the head.
Previous attacks saw an imam shot dead in Khasavyurt, a city in central Dagestan in November 2010. In August of last year, the head of a Islamic centre in the republic’s capital of Makhachkala was killed by assailants who sprayed his vehicle with bullets.
Dagestan, which borders on Chechnya, was the location for around 50% of all terrorist-related violence in Russia last year. Conflicts between insurgents and religious figures that condemn or refuse to cooperate with them are common.