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150-200 Militants Active in Dagestan – Republic’s Leader

RIA Novosti

19:15 30/07/2013 MAKHACHKALA, July 30 (RIA Novosti) – About 150 to 200 militant insurgents are currently active in Russia’s turbulent North Caucasus republic of Dagestan, the republic’s acting chief told RIA Novosti.

The Russian Interior Ministry branch for the North Caucasus Federal District said in late January that some 40 militant groups contained about 600 active members who were operating in the region, most of them in Dagestan.

“Various figures emerge, [from] 150 [to] 200,” Dagestan’s acting leader, Ramazan Abdulatipov said in an interview.

He added that although the republic’s authorities were currently trying to help militants return to a normal life, law enforcement officers “need to enhance their activities” in order to successfully deal with this task.

“On the whole, I think that the Interior Ministry and the Federal Security Service are doing good work in order to ensure security. … Many successful [security] operations have been carried out in the past months. They are doing what they can,” he said.

Russia has been fighting militants in the North Caucasus for over a decade, including two separatist wars in Chechnya. Volatile Dagestan, which borders Chechnya, has seen the majority of all militant attacks in Russia in the past years.

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