Russia's top investigative agency says several regional officials in the volatile North Caucasus have been arrested on embezzlement charges.

The Investigative Committee said Abdusamad Gamidov, the acting Cabinet head in Dagestan province, was arrested Monday along with two of his deputies and several other senior officials. They were accused of embezzlement and fraud.

The Federal Security Service (FSB), the main successor to the Soviet KGB, made the arrests and flew the suspects to Moscow on its plane.

Observers saw the arrests as part of Kremlin efforts to rein in local elites who were largely left to their own devices despite allegations that had misspent federal funds.

Dagestan also has been destabilized by frequent attacks by Islamist militants who targeted police and officials.