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Russia detains Dagestan mayor on murder charges

MYT 11:45:01 PM

MOSCOW (Reuters) - The mayor of the capital of the troubled Russian region of Dagestan has been detained on suspicion of organising the murder of a senior state investigator, the Investigative Committee said on Saturday.

Car bombs, suicide bombings and murders of officials are common in Dagestan, home to a deadly mixture of Islamist insurgency rooted in two post-Soviet wars against separatist rebels in neighbouring Chechnya, and booming organised crime.

Said Amirov, 59, mayor of Makhachkala since 1998, and 10 others were detained in connection with the murder, Investigative Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin said in a statement. Amirov was transported to Moscow for further questioning, he said.

Armoured personnel carriers and helicopters were used during the arrest of the official, said the Lifenews.ru website which has close ties to law enforcement agencies.

An ethnically mixed, mostly Muslim region between Chechnya and the Caspian Sea, Dagestan has become the most violent province in the North Caucasus, where insurgents say they are fighting to carve out an Islamic state out of southern Russia.

The main suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings in the United States, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, lived in Dagestan with his family about a decade ago and visited the region last year.

(Reporting by Alexei Anishchuk; Editing by Jon Hemming)

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