Inside Dagestan's 'counter-terror' sweep

IWPR reporter visits village which the security forces say was a rebel stronghold.

The long road to Gimri is long and dotted with security checks. As you enter the mountains, the armoured vehicles begin to get more frequent.

On January 25, the Dagestani authorities arranged a trip for journalists to the mountainous village of Gimri, birthplace of 19th century warrior leader Imam Shamil and - in the last six weeks - the scene of clashes between security forces and Islamic rebels.

Reporters travelling to the Untsukul region, where Gimri is located, were given a police escort on the grounds that the situation was still dangerous. There are checkpoints along the only road leading to Gimri and it is impossible to travel there without being accompanied or obtaining special permission.

The whole region was sealed off in December after the murder of a Dagestani parliamentary deputy, and more than 3,000 security personnel were sent to re-establish government control in the area. (See CRS 426, " Troops Hunt Rebels in Dagestan Mountains.")


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