A Muslim leader of the Russian Republic of Dagestan has been assassinated in his home, according to law enforcement sources. Sheikh Said Afandi died after a suicide bomber apparently set off an explosive device in his house.
According to police officers on the ground, at least six other people died in the blast, including the female suicide bomber. The house has been surrounded, and police are working at the scene. The device, according to sources close to the investigation, was not very powerful, so the officers have already managed to identify the attacker. According to preliminary data the attacker was Aminat Saprykin, a local resident of Makhachkala and the wife of a militant trained as a suicide bomber, sources told Interfax.
The Republic’s President Magomedsalam Magomedov, has announced August 29th will be a day of mourning.
“After suffering multiple injuries, Sheikh Said Afandi died on the spot. Another 5 people, including a child, were also killed. Many were injured. This horrible tragedy has shaken Dagestan, and caused pain and outrage among our people”.
74-year-old Said Afandi, a well-known Sufi cleric, was considered one of the Republic’s top spiritual leaders. His father died when Afandi was just seven years old. Halfway through highschol, he dropped out to become a shepherd and financially support his family. He served in the Soviet Army and worked as a firefighter before coming to religion at the age of 32.
In his last years, Afandi mostly wrote books, many of which were translated into Russian and English. He was also fond of poetry, and was a keen poet himself.
Tens of thousands of people came to pay their respects to Afandi as he was buried before sunset on August 28.