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One person killed during ‘counter-terrorist operation’ in Daghestan

12 March 2021
Photo via the National Anti-Terrorism Committee of Russia.

Civil liberties were suspended from morning until afternoon in the Sovietsky district of Makhachkala, as a special counter-terrorism regime was declared in the neighbourhood. According to the National Anti-Terrorism Committee of Russia, a man was killed during this time, they did not disclose his identity.

The Counter Terrorism Operation (CTO) regime, which gives security forces broad rights to operate in a declared ‘special operations zone’. During the CTO regime, security forces can wiretap telephone conversations, open private mail and packages, bar public movement, and detain citizens in order to establish their identity.

The CTO regime in Sovietsy came into force at 10:15 and lasted until 15:00. 

The Russian National Anti-Terrorism Committee reported that the deceased opened fire on security officials. According to the statement, the man was preparing a terrorist attack on the territory of Daghestan, and special forces were conducting the operation to ‘to suppress preparations for a terrorist attack in Daghestan’.

An assault rifle and other ammunition were reportedly found at the scene.

Local residents told journalists that the deceased had previously served a prison term and, after his release, led a ‘normal life’.

A violent regime

A blanket CTO regime was in force throughout the North Caucasus from 1999-2009, and the Second Russian-Chechen War was waged under its auspices. Indeed, Russian authorities officially refer to the conflict as ‘the conduct of counter-terrorist operations on the territory of the Chechen Republic’.

The last time the CTO regime was enforced in Daghestan was in August 2016, during which two brothers, 17 and Nabi and 18-year-old Gasanguseyn Gasanguseynov, were killed. At the time, security officials said that two brothers opened fire on them with a Kalashnikov assault rifle and were killed by ‘return fire’.

Following the deaths, and after mounting public pressure, the Daghestan Investigative Committee opened an investigation into the incident. The investigation uncovered that the brothers did not actually have any weapons with them, and that the evidence of their involvement in a terrorist ‘underground’ was falsified by the security forces. 

Patimat and Murtazali Gasanguseynov protest in the Daghestani capital Makhachkala in September 2018 Photo: Saida Vagabova /OC Media.

In the five years since, no one has been charged or convicted for their murder

In December 2020, the new head of Daghestan, Sergey Melikov, met with the parents of the two brothers and expressed his ‘moral support’ for the family, though he did not mention the issue of bringing their sons’ killers to justice. 

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