One civilian was killed and four police officers injured when a gunman opened fire in a cafe in Dagestan, the southern Russian republic`s Interior Ministry said on Friday, according to RIA Novosti.

The gunman opened fire using an automatic weapon against the officers in a cafe in the town of Khasavyurt, close to the administrative border with Chechnya, late on Thursday, the ministry said.

"Four police officers were hospitalized, one civilian died at the scene," the ministry said adding one of the officers is in critical condition.

Dagestan and the other mainly Muslim regions of Russia`s North Caucasus have been plagued by instability recently. Skirmishes between troops and separatists, and attacks on police and other officials have been reported daily.

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin pledged in his annual phone-in on Thursday to wage "a ruthless fight" against militant groups, but also acknowledged a need to tackle unemployment, organized crime, clan rivalry and corruption as causes of the ongoing violence.