OAO Transneft, Russia’s oil pipeline operator, said the murder of an employee in the southern region of Dagestan was a contract killing linked to his work.
Sergei Saipudinov, a security officer responsible for preventing theft from the regional pipeline network, was shot dead last week, Transneft said in a statement on its website.
Thieves tapped into the network six times in the first half of this year, down from about 20 incidents in the same period of 2011, Transneft’s local head, Jafar Nasirov, said in the statement dated Aug. 1. Police found 13 illegal mini-refineries in the region last year, the company said.
Russia’s North Caucasus region has been riven by separatist violence since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Federal forces fought two wars against rebels in Chechnya, and violence has flared up in neighboring Dagestan. Six suspected militants were killed by government forces last week, Interfax reported, citing the National Anti-Terrorist Committee.