(REUTERS – 4TH MAY) Suicide bombers killed 14 people and wounded more than 100 in attacks on a police post on the outskirts of the capital of Russia’s Dagestan region, local health ministry said on Friday (May 4).
The attacks outside Makhachkala late on Thursday (May 3) were the deadliest in months, undermining efforts by Russian security
forces to contain an Islamist insurgency in the North Caucasus near Sochi, where Russia will host the Winter Olympics in 2014.
More than a decade after federal troops toppled an Islamist government in Chechnya, also in the North Caucasus, security forces are fighting militants whose ranks are swollen by anger at poverty, clan feuds and pervasive corruption.
The first suicide bomber detonated a bomb when police stopped a vehicle to check documents, a statement by the National Anti-Terrorist Committee said.
The second explosion came when fire brigades and ambulances arrived, causing additional casualties.
Pictures from the blast scene show vehicles reduced to charred wreckage.
“From the scene of the accident 23 injured were brought to the Republican Hospital. Unfortunately, three people did not make it and were pronounced dead while on their way here. Eight people are still remaining in extremely serious condition. They are all now in the surgical wing and teams of surgeons are working on them,” said Sabibulla Abdullayev, deputy chief doctor at the Makhachkala Republican Hospital.
Local investigators said they had found the remains of a man and a woman suspected of being the suicide bombers.
The attacks fell just three days before Vladimir Putin, who sent troops 12 years ago to crush rebellion inChechnya, is to be sworn in as president.
The unofficial Islamist website www.kavkazcenter.com said the police post was almost completely destroyed. A nearby gas pipeline also was damaged during the attack, RIA news agency reported.
Dagestan faces near daily shootings and bombings blamed on Islamist rebels. It has become the epicentre of violence in the low-level insurgency across the mainly Muslim North Caucasus following two separatist wars in Chechnya.
The insurgents want to create an Islamic state in the region and say they were behind a suicide bombing at Moscow’s Domodedovo airport that killed 37 people in January 2011 and twin bombings that killed 40 people on Moscow’s metro in 2010.
Russian leaders had expressed concern that the rebels would try to stage attacks in big Russian cities to mar the parliamentary election last December and the presidential elections in March, but no such attacks were reported.