Clashes between Russian security forces and Islamist militants have left at least nine people dead in the North Caucasus region of Dagestan.

Russian news reports Friday quoted local officials as saying the fighting killed at least four soldiers and five militants.

Earlier this month, a Russian policeman was killed and at least eight of his colleagues were wounded when a powerful bomb exploded as they were attempting to defuse it near the village of Komsomolskoye in the northern part of Dagestan.

Dagestan is a predominantly Muslim region in southern Russia, plagued by violence linked to an Islamist insurgency. Separatists in neighboring Chechnya fought two major wars against the Russian government. Although the major fighting ended about a decade ago, attacks on government targets continue almost daily.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.