Gunmen have shot dead a leading judge in Russia’s republic of Ingushetia just 18 months after the murder of her predecessor. Aza Gazgireyeva, the deputy head of the region’s Supreme Court, died in hospital after her minibus was sprayed with automatic weapons fire in Nazran. Six other passengers were also wounded, including a one-year-old child.
As security in neighbouring Chechnya has improved, instability has worsened elsewhere in the mainly- Muslim North Caucusus region. In Dagestan, gunmen shot two people hours after Russian President Dmitry Medvedev sought to rally officials there in their fight against Islamic insurgents. The region’s interior minister was killed by a sniper at a wedding reception last week. Poverty and government crackdowns have provided a fertile recruiting ground for militants. During his unannounced visit to Dagestan, the President praised the efforts of security forces in combatting insurgents. “The work of restoring order here, cleaning up of terrorist riff-raff, must be continued, because it’s about security, about life and well-being of our people,” Medvedev said. Special forces put on a display for the President but the show of power is unlikely to deter the insurgents. There have been 308 terrorist-related crimes so far in 2009. Seventy-five police staff and 48 civilians have been murdered.