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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Estonia Investigates Kidnapping in Dagestan

RIGA, Latvia -- Estonia's chief prosecutor, Norman Aas, has opened a criminal investigation into the abduction of a 19-year-old Estonian woman in Dagestan, an Estonian official said Wednesday.

The woman, Aminat Mahmudova, is an Estonian national of Dagestani descent who was abducted on Aug. 3 while visiting the Dagestani capital, Makhachkala, with her family, said Piret Seeman, a spokeswoman for the Estonian public prosecutor's office.

Aas ordered the probe on Tuesday to help make it easier for investigators to gather background information on Mahmudova and to ensure that Russian authorities dealt with the abduction seriously, Seeman said by phone from the Estonian capital, Tallinn.

Mahmudova's father, Mahmud-Apandi Mahmudov, who heads Estonia's Dagestani cultural society, turned to Estonian police on Sunday for help in finding his daughter. He told police she was abducted by masked gunmen.

Estonia is contemplating sending a police liaison to the Dagistani capital to help in the investigation, Seeman said.

Dagestani media reports have suggested Mahmudova may have been kidnapped in an attempt to force her into marriage, the Baltic News Service reported.