Local cleric found dead in Russia’s Dagestan

Text of report by Russian internet news agency Regnum, specializing in regional reporting

16 May: The imam of Stalskoye village in Kizilyurtovskiy District of Dagestan, Omaraskhab Alibekov, who was kidnapped on 15 May, has been found dead, the imam’s relative who lives in the village, Magomed Gadzhiyev, told a REGNUM on 16 May.

According to Gadzhiyev, the imam went to Kizilyurt for business. However, after a while, relatives could not get through to him. "Early in the morning, a burnt car with a dead body inside was found in Buynakskiy District. We could hardly identify him," Magomed Gadzhiyev said.

There have been no reports from the law enforcement agencies about the incident yet. The investigations department of the Investigations Committee of the Russian Federation did not comment on the incident either.

There have been several murders of religious figures in Dagestan. Magomed Zakaryayev, 32-year-old teacher of a religious school, was killed on 10 April  2014 in the village Nechayevka in Kizilyurtovskiy District.

On 3 August 2013, imam Ilyas Ilyasov was killed in Makhachkala. Ismayil Gadzhiyev, the imam of a mosque in Uchkent village of Kumtorkalinskiy District was killed in October 2013. The imam of a local mosque, Gadzhi Aliyev, was murdered in Khadzhalmakhi village of Levashinskiy District in November 2013.

Source: Regnum news agency, Moscow, in Russian 1235 gmt 16 May 14

Slain Dagestani cleric said to be insurgency leader’s nephew

A village cleric who has been found dead in the southern Russian region of Dagestan is a nephew of the North Caucasus insurgency leader, Abu Mukhammad, Kavkazskiy Uzel website quoted the local police as saying. The man’s relatives said that the day before he was found dead the cleric had been detained by the police. The following is the text of report by Russian Kavkazskiy Uzel website, specializing in news from the Caucasus, on 16 May; subheadings have been inserted editorially:

16 May: Omaraskhab Alibegov [mentioned in previous reports as Alibekov], an imam of Stalskoye village in Dagestan’s Kizilyurtovskiy District who was found dead [on 16 May], was presumably abducted by law-enforcers on 14 May, one of the imam’s relatives has said.

The dead man was identified by the relatives as Omaraskhab Alibegov who was a nephew of the new leader of [self-proclaimed] Caucasus Emirate, Abu Mukhammad (Aliaskhab Kebekov), a source within the Interior Ministry said. The information has not yet been confirmed officially.

On 16 May, the dead body was found in a burnt car in Dagestan’s Buynakskiy District. Local residents said the dead man was the imam of a mosque in Stalskoye village of Kizilyurtovskiy District.

The relatives identified Omaraskhab Alibegov, born in 1974, a source within the Kizilyurtovskiy District police department told Kavkazskiy Uzel. The dead man is a native of Teletl village of Shamilskiy District, and also a relative of the new leader of the Caucasus Emirate, Aliaskhab Kebekov (Abu Mukhammad), the source said.

Alibegov’s relatives did not appealed to the district police department about his abduction, the source said.

"After he (Omaraskhab Alibegov) went missing, his relatives were worried and started searching for him. On 15 May, we learnt through unofficial channels that he had been detained," a relative of the deceased said.

His relatives learnt that he had been held at a police department. "A high-ranking police official said that he would soon be set free and that relatives should not make a big deal out of this. However, on the night of 15 May he was found dead in his car," the man said.

His relatives assume that "the imam was killed and then blown up in order to cover traces of torture," he noted.

According to local resident, the situation is tense in Stalskoye village due to religious disagreements there. Conflicts occur periodically between representatives of Sufism and Salafism. The slain imam was a Salafi, local residents said.

Imam enjoyed locals’ support

Meanwhile, the chairman of the association of lawyers Traditsiya, Ziyautdin Uvaysov, said that he had many times visited Stalskoye village where Alibegov was the imam of local main mosque. The lawyer said that Alibegov enjoyed support of the locals.

"After a number of reports in the mass media about the alleged tense situation in Stalskoye in 2012, I together with Kavkazskiy Uzel correspondent Akhmednabi Akhemdnabiyev visited the village to verify the information and to communicate with local residents. Natives of many Dagestani regions live in that village. Despite of this, most of the villagers supported the imam," Ziyautdin Uvaysov told Kavkazskiy Uzel.

"Only a small group of people who complained to various agencies, trying to get the imam replaced. This was back in 2012. Later, the conflict was resolved. I can tell it again – that majority of the villagers supported Alibegov. The mosque was filled with visitors every Friday. The mosque was crowded on Fridays," Uvaysov said.

The Interior Ministry and the Investigations Committee have not officially confirmed the report about Alibegov’s detention on 14 May and his having been identified by his relatives.

At least two people were killed in Stalskoye this year [2014].

On the evening of 26 April, the 60-year-old farmer, Gadzhi Gasanguseynov, left a dairy market in the village, and did not reach home. The following day, his corpse with bullet wounds on it was found inside a car.

On 21 January, law-enforcers carried out a special operation in the village to search for members of illegal armed formations. On the same day, Eldar Magatov, born in 1984, who according to law-enforcers had been the leader of Babayurtovskaya group, was killed in a shoot-out.

Source: Kavkaz-uzel.ru website, Moscow, in Russian 2354 gmt 16 May 14



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