A leader of one of the largest criminal organizations Ruslan Gelaev is presumed to be dead. Gelaev has been presumably killed somewhere in Dagestan mountains in the course of a special military operation aimed at destroying various criminal organizations in the region. The operation took place in Tsuntinsky region on December 15th, 2003. This information has been reported by chief of investigations department of Republic of Dagestan Mirsabala Mirzabalaev in his interview to ITAR-TASS.
According to Mirzabalaev, five arrested militants from Dagestan's criminal organizations provided information about Gelaev's death. Based on the same sources, the criminal organization itself has been led by Ruslan Gelaev himself. Nine people died as a result of a collision between militants and frontier guards.
Today, all of the five militants (whose names are not to be revealed for the entire course of investigation) are all in jail in Makhachkalinsk region. The only available information about the captives is that they are of Chechen and Dagestan nationalities.
Their testimonies reveal that their criminal organization consisted of 40 militants. Six of them were caught in a snow slip and three of the militants fell from a cliff while being chased by frontier guards. No less than 20 militants were destroyed as a result of missile attacks.
At night on December 15th a group of militants appeared in Tsuntinsky region of Dagestan. Having reached Shauli village, they have seized local public hospital. Russian frontier guards, who followed the militants all the way to Shauli, have been trapped and killed. Nine military men including chief of frontier guards have all been murdered.
According to the militants' testimonials, their group consisting of several dozens men attempted to reach Georgia though Chechnya.
After encountering resistance from the frontier guards, the bandits divided into small groups and tried to hide in the mountains. Soon, they were all blocked by federal forces. Three Russian soldiers died while pursuing some of the militants.
On December 30th, 2003, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Ivanov informed Russian President Vladimir Putin of the fact that the liquidation of a criminal organization in Dagestan is finally over. According to Ivanov, the organization consisted of 36 people, including some Arab militants.
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