The search operation aimed at detaining militants in the Tsuntinsky district of Dagestan (Russia's autonomous republic neighboring on Chechnya) is going on, Angela Martirosova, a spokesperson for the Dagestani Interior Ministry, told RIA Novosti over the phone.
"Bad weather prevented use of aviation in the special operation yesterday, but today helicopters have been combing the area where the militants might have hidden from early morning," she said. At the same time, according to the Dagestani Interior Ministry's spokeswoman, deep snow hinders the search conducted jointly by special purpose units and a special police detachment (OMON). "Recent heavy snowfalls in the mountains have swept the terrain with massive snowdrifts, slowing down the advance of the federal forces." Angela Martirosova stressed that reinforced special purpose forces and OMON detachments are still deployed in the Tsuntinsky district. She recalled that a group of about 20 militants had been detected in the Tsuntinsky district on Thursday. According to Akhmetnabi Megdigadzhiyev, the Secretary of Dagestan's Security Council, the bandits have now been blocked and the special forces are conducting an operation aimed at their liquidation.
The head of the Tsuntinsky district's administration, Basyr Magomedov, told RIA Novosti that previous reports citing infiltration of other groups of militants into the district have proved to be incorrect. According to him, the armed gang that had broken into the district on Monday numbers from 40 to 60 militants.
Russia had already conducted its investigation into the use of chemical weapons in Douma and did not find either a single sign of the chemical attack or witnesses