Two police officers were among the wounded. The attacker was shot and killed at the scene. The assailant was identified as a 22-year-old man local to the region. “There were a lot of people there, moms with little children, elderly people. I believe God saved us, not allowing the man to get inside the church” a witness woman said.
The gunman had a female accomplice who fled before the shooting started. Dagestan, the small republic in the Caucasus mountains borders Chechnya, where Moscow has led two wars against separatists and radical religious groups. The republic’s constitution declares the protection of the interests of all of Dagestan’s peoples to be a fundamental principle. The republic has oil and gas reserves and also the fisheries potential offered by a share in the resources of the Caspian sea. However, it is prey to organized crime and regional instability. Organised crime is reported to flourish and kidnappings and violence are commonplace.