3 Killed, 17 Injured in Dagestan Blast Reportedly Set By Former Astrakhan Medical Student

February 15, 2016
Car exploded at traffic police post by suicide bomber in Dagestan, February 15, 2016. Photo by Reuters

LIVE UPDATES: Four people, including 2 policemen were killed and 5 wounded in an explosion set off by a suicide bomber near the Dzhemikent traffic police post in Derbent District in Dagestan.

Welcome to our column, Russia Update, where we will be closely following day-to-day developments in Russia, including the Russian government’s foreign and domestic policies.

The previous issue is here.

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St. Petersburg Legislator Says Prosecutor General’s Referral to Chechnya of Probe on Kadyrov Shows He’s “Not in Control”

Maksim Reznik, a deputy of the St. Petersburg legislature says the Prosecutor General’s Office has responded to his inquiry regarding recent inflammatory statements by Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov with a reply that the Chechen Prosecutor has been assigned to conduct a probe, Radio Svoboda reports.
Reznik sent an inquiry on January 12 noting Kadyrov’s statement that the Russian opposition should be regarded as “enemies of the people, as traitors” and should be “tried to the full extent of the law.” Later, Kadryov posted a picture on Instagram of opposition members Mikhail Kasyanov and Vladimir Kara-Murza, Jr. with a sniper’s scope superimposed on it. Then Kasyanov was attacked in a cafe, and several Chechen policemen nearby were detained, although he was unable to identify them as the assailants.
Reznik said that the Prosecutor General of Russia or his deputy should have conducted the review of Kadyrov and the fact that it was sent to the Chechen Prosecutor — who is totally under Kadyrov’s control — “once again demonstrates that the federal authorities do not control the situation in Chechnya.”

More than 12,000 people have signed a statement launched by the Congress of Russian Intellectuals calling for the dismissal of Kadyrov.

— Catherine A. Fitzpatrick 

Update: 3 Killed, 17 Wounded in Explosion in Dagestan Reportedly Set By Former Astrakhan Medical Student

At least 3 people were killed including 2 policemen and 17 people – 8 policemen and 9 civilians – have suffered shrapnel wounds and burns due to a suicide-bombing in Dagestan today, Gazeta.ru reported. Three received first aid at the scene and the rest were taken to the hospital; two are in serious condition. One of the policeman was a local Dagestani man and the other was a policeman sent on assignment from Mordovia. There were both policemen from the Russian temporary group of forces and Dagestani police as well as civilians at the post.

As we reported, ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack.

The bomb was said to contain two 122-mm mortars, RIA Novosti reported. According to other sources, the bomb was packed with a mixture of ammonium nitrate and aluminum powder, the equivalent of 30 kg of TNT. Only fragments of the head and limbs of the driver, suspected to be a suicide bomber, remain and have been sent for DNA analysis, but a preliminary identification has been made
Gazeta.ru reported that this morning a Lada Priora approached the traffic police (GIBDD) in the Derebent District of Dagestan. When a policeman went to check the driver’s ID, the car exploded and the fire spread, burning out three other cars. Part of the traffic police post was also damaged.
The bomber was said to be a member of Yuzhdag, the “Southern Dagestan” militant group which is said to have sworn allegiance to ISIS. The FSB reportedly intercepted militants of this group in the past when they planned to detonate a bomb in Moscow on Victory Day, May 9. 
The suicide bomber is believed to be a medical student who had twice been expelled for failure, LifeNews and Interfax reported. 
Translation: The suicide bomber who blew up the traffic police post was twice expelled for falling behind.
Translation: The traffic police post #Dagestan was blown up by a student in one of the universities in Astrakhan.

According to LifeNews, police made a preliminary identification of the bomber as A. Talibov, aged 23 who had entered Astrakhan Medical University in 2011 but after two years was expelled. He was conditionally reinstated in 2013, but then expelled finally in July 2015.

Police have surrounded the home of the suspect’s father in the Avain-4 microdistrict of Derbent. A search of the suspect’s home in Dagestan as well as Astrakhan yielded materials confirming his involvement in ISIS, said a police source (translation by The Interpreter):

“A computer and other devices and personal items testify to the deceased’s affiliation to ISIS, which he joined in the summer of last year [2015].”

He said there were “certain facts that indicated a brief stay of the suspect in Turkey and Syria.”
Interfax said the car involved in the explosion was a Lada Priora.
But LifeNews reported that it was a VAZ-2109 Sputnik, known as a devyatka. M. Gaziev, 53, the previous owner of the VAZ-2109 said he sold the car at the market in February and is providing testimony to police; a traffic ticket was last issued to K. Gazhiev, 28.
Gazeta.ru reported that the VAZ-2109 was one of the three cars struck by the bomb, not the one containing it.

Ramazan Abdulatipov, head of Dagestan, denounced the “terrorist filth” in an Instagram post today.

“In recent years we have managed to lower the level of terrorist danger in the republic, but apparently there are people who do not want there to be stability and prosperity in Dagestan! We will seriously oppose any forms of manifestation of radicalism and terrorism! We have one common motto: “Everyone fight terrorism!” and we will cleanse the republic of the remnants of terrorist filth!”

On December 30, militants said to be aligned with ISIS fired on tourists at the ancient fortress of Naryn-Kala in Derbent. One FSB officer of the border guards was killed and 11 people were wounded. After this attack, law-enforcers said only 3 people remained in the militants’ group.

— Catherine A. Fitzpatrick
ISIS Claims Responsibility For Dagestan Bombing
Wilayat Kavkaz, the Caucasus-based franchise of ISIS, has claimed responsibility for this morning’s bomb attack in Derbent, Dagestan:
Video of the aftermath of the attack was posted by local paper Chernovik on Instagram:

According to RIA Novosti, the number of wounded has risen to 17.

14 people have been hospitalised while three received medical attention from paramedics before being sent home.

One woman is reported to be in a very critical condition and another four people, two of them civilians are in a severe condition, reports the Ministry of Health.

There are varying reports of the number of people killed, with RIA Novosti reporting “from two to four” dead.

Caucasian Knot reports that the Russian Investigative Committee has confirmed two deaths.

— Pierre Vaux

Suicide Bomb Blast in Dagestan Kills 4, Including 2 Policemen, Wounds 5

RIA Novosti reports that an explosion occurred near the Dzhemikent traffic police post in Derbent District in Dagestan when police halted an automobile to inspect it.

Two policemen and two civilians were killed in the blast, and five others were wounded. They have been taken to a local hospital.

A law-enforcement source told RIA that a suicide bomber set of the explosion when stopped (translation by The Interpreter):

“Behind the wheel of the automobile was a suicide terrorist who blew himself up. From preliminary information, the explosion wsa organized by militants from the “southern diversionary terrorist group.”

— Catherine A. Fitzpatrick