Dagestan bombings highlight security shortfalls | News | DW | 04.05.2012
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Dagestan bombings highlight security shortfalls

Two car bombs have exploded outside a police station in the Russian republic of Dagestan, killing at least 12 people. President Magomedsalam Magomedov admitted that his province needs to do more on security.

Dagestan's president, Magomedsalam Magomedov, has cut short a trip to Moscow to return home to lead the response to a twin bombing that killed at least 12 people late on Thursday.

The first explosion occurred outside a traffic police station in the Dagestan capital of Makhachkala when a car pulled up there for an ID check. According to officials, 25 minutes later, as the scene of the blast was filled with troops and investigators, a second explosion went off in a minivan parked nearby.

In addition to the fatalities, more than 120 people were hospitalized, according to Kazanfar Kurbanov, the Emergency Ministry chief physician in Dagestan.

Authorities said Friday it was probably a suicide attack by Islamic insurgents. Investigators told the Associated Press news agency that they suspected the explosions were carried out by two suicide bombers. The remains of a man and a woman were reportedly found near the two vehicles.

Security forces lacking

Islamist militants carry out attacks on police and civilians from time to time in Dagestan, which, like neighboring Chechnya, is part of the North Caucasus region.

The insurgents want to create an Islamic state and say they were behind a suicide bombing at Moscow's Domodedovo airport that killed 37 people in January 2011 and two bombings that killed 40 people on Moscow's metro in 2010.

Local media reported that as a result of this most recent attack as many as 20,000 troops would be dispatched to Dagestan. Those figures were dismissed by Dagestan President, Magomedsalam Magomedov.

He did admit however that his province needed to do more on security. Both Chechnya and Dagestan have 18,000 police officers, but Dagestan's population is twice as large as Chechnya's.

Police reinforcements have been brought in from neighboring regions to Dagestan in recent weeks in an attempt to improve security and make up for personnel shortages among local law enforcement forces.

al / rg (AP, AFP, Reuters)