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Russia: Stand-Off Continues Among Muslims In Dagestan

Moscow, 13 May 1997 (RFE/RL) - The stand-off between Muslim religious groups in the southern Russian republic of Dagestan continued overnight after at least one person was killed and several other wounded in shooting yesterday.

News agencies reported that gunfire erupted last night after some 1,000 people started fighting in the village of Chabanmakhi in southern Dagestan. The fighting apparently started after other Muslim villagers demanded that members of the Wahhabi Islamic sect leave Chabanmakhi accusing them of intolerance.

The number of casualties however was not immediately clear. Russian television reported from Dagestan that two people were killed and two wounded in the shooting while Russian agencies said one person was killed and several other wounded. Interfax also said that 18 Wahhabi members were taken hostage by other Muslim villagers.

Police today surrounded the village to prevent the conflict from growing.

Dagestan, a predominantly Muslim republic, is home to at least 30 different ethnic groups.