Attacks in the volatile North Caucasus are the latest deadly episode in a wave of violence to hit the region.
In Dagestan, Russian security forces killed four suspected Islamist rebels in heavy fighting as insurgents continue to challenge Kremlin rule. In the neighbouring republic of Chechnya, where Russia fought two separatist wars, there was a similar scenario. But this time the authorities became the target after a suicide attack in the capital Grozny badly wounded three police officers. In nearby Ingushetia, vast unemployment, affecting more than half the population, arguably makes it easier for extremists to attract recruits. Last month, a massive truck bomb killed 20 people and destroyed a five-storey police station in the capital Nazran. In a similar attack on Friday a suicide truck bomber killed one other person and wounded several at a police checkpoint. The three republics have also seen a spate of high- profile murders with Muslim rebels targeting officials. Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov has warned Moscow that the insurgency has affected all spheres of society and that he is struggling to contain it. However, Kadyrov’s tough methods are under the spotlight as the Kremlin seeks to regain control. Human rights groups accused him of ordering the murder of leading activist Natalia Estemirova in July, something the Chechen leader strenuously denies.