An unusually large number of attacks have roiled the North Caucasus in recent weeks, including a bloody ambush Saturday that killed at least nine Chechen police officers in Ingushetia, raising new fears that the situation is spiraling out of control in the restive region. The chief of the Investigative Committee warned that insurgents have found new sources of financing from abroad, while analysts said the attacks looked like a reaction against a counterterrorism operation in the region.
The Kremlin faces a quandary over what to do in the North Caucasus, where Ingushetia’s president was badly injured in a suicide bombing and Dagestan’s top police official was killed by snipers last month. Chechnya’s top police official said Friday that a plot had been thwarted to assassinate Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov.
After the attack on Ingush President Yunus-Bek Yevkurov on June 22, President Dmitry Medvedev authorized Kadyrov to dispatch law enforcement officers into Ingushetia to quell the insurgency there.
A Chechen police convoy was traveling toward the Arshty settlement in Ingushetia’s Sunzha district at about 8:30 a.m. Saturday when gunmen opened fire with grenade launchers and automatic weapons, killing nine and injuring 10, the
Investigative Committee said. The officers were traveling from Chechnya to Ingushetia on a joint counterterrorism operation, it said.
Insurgents took responsibility for the attack. The rebel web site Kavkaz Center reported Sunday that 48 policemen had been killed in the attack and 14 others were wounded. The report could not be independently confirmed. The web site is known for inflating casualty figures, while the government has minimized its casualties in the past.
Kadyrov denounced the ambush and threatened to seek immediate revenge on the rebels.
“Those bandits must be identified, found and eliminated as soon as possible. There can be no mercy or leniency for them,” Kadyrov said in a statement. He said the rebels had opened fire on the police officers from behind.
He said the officers, led by Achkhoi-Martan regional police commander Valid Batsilov, who survived the attack, had returned fire and forced the rebels to retreat into a forest.
Kadyrov declared Saturday a day of mourning in Chechnya and ordered all entertainment events canceled. Adam Delimkhanov, who represents Chechnya in the State Duma and is wanted by Dubai on an Interpol warrant for the murder of a rival of Kadyrov, said there would be “no mercy” for “the bandits.”
The Investigative Committee sent a team of investigators from Moscow to Ingushetia to work at the crime scene, the committee said in a statement. Kadyrov traveled to Ashty, the destination of the police officers, where he met
with Chechen Interior Minister Ruslan Alkhanov and Ingush Interior Minister Ruslan Meriyev and told them to punish the attackers. “Those who are involved in the crime will find their deaths in the forest,” said Kadyrov, who has been accused by human rights groups of resorting to brutal tactics in an attempt to maintain order in Chechnya.
On Saturday night, a joint Ingush-Chechen force surrounded a group of about 20 suspected rebels in a forest near the Chechen settlement of Bamut, close to the Ingush border, killing at least two as of Sunday evening. Chechen police foiled an assassination attempt against Kadyrov on Thursday when they surrounded suspected militant Said-Selim Abdulkadyrov and a female accomplice in a private house in the village of Staraya Sunzha near Grozny, Alkhanov, the Chechen interior minister, said Friday in a statement. Abdulkadyrov was killed in an exchange of fire, while the woman was wounded and arrested.
Alkhanov accused an Arab mercenary named Mukhanad with ties to al-Qaida of being behind the plot. Investigative Committee head Alexander Bastrykin told reporters Friday that one of the reasons behind the surge in rebel activity in the North Caucasus was a growth of financial support from abroad this year.
At least 19 people were killed or injured in other attacks in Ingushetia, Dagestan and Chechnya since Wednesday, news reports said. Among them:
- An unidentified gunman opened fire at traffic police near the village of Shamkhal in Dagestan on Wednesday, killing one policeman at the scene and injuring another, who later died in hospital.
- A sapper was killed when two bombs went off at the railroad near the village of Uytash in Dagestan on Wednesday.
- Three bombs exploded in various places of the Urus-Martan district of Chechnya, killing two soldiers and injuring five others Thursday.
- In the Ingush village of Kantyshevo, a shootout between two rebels and a group of police officers killed one policeman and left four injured Thursday.
- Three policemen were injured in the roadside explosion of a radio-controlled bomb and hospitalized in the Dagestani town of Khasavyurt on Friday.
Militants wounded Ingush police captain Vakhi Aushev, who was hospitalized, last Saturday, the Investigative Committee said.
Also, police detained two suspected militants after a standoff at an apartment building in Nalchik, the capital of Kabardino-Balkaria, RIA-Novosti said. The suspects, Ruslan Shikhaliyev, 28, who had been registered by police as a follower of radical Islam, and Anzhela Sunsheva, 27, surrendered to Interior Ministry and Federal Security Service officers at about 4 a.m. Friday. Police said they confiscated two grenades, two Kalashnikov rifles and 239 bullets from the suspects’ apartment.
Analysts said a reason behind the recent surge in attacks might be the reaction of the rebels to a counterterrorism operation on the border of Chechnya and Ingushetia that was announced by the leaders of the two republics on May 17. “Rebels have suffered significant losses as the result of the operation,” said Nikolai Silayev, a Caucasus analyst with the Moscow State Institute of International Relations. “They need to demonstrate that they still have political clout.”
The surge in attacks could also possibly be a result of the reduced financial support of the republics by the federal authorities because of the financial crisis, Silayev said.
Maxim Agarkov, an analyst with the SK-Strategia think tank, said the recent attempt on Yevkurov’s life might have emboldened the rebels. Bastrykin said Friday that Chechen warlord Doku Umarov might have masterminded the attack on Yevkurov.
The Ingush president regained consciousness Friday, RIA-Novosti reported. Doctors expect to see significant improvement in his health over the next month.
The Moscow Times 06 July 2009
KC: 48 apostates probably eliminated in Arshty
Sources convey that more than 20 corpses of Kadyrovites have been brought to only one village of Khambi-Irze. The total number of eliminated puppet police is 48 people. Only 14 people are left from the squad of apostates and all of them are injured. 4 UAZ minibuses were destroyed.
Apostates announced another “blocking” of Mujahideen group.
As expected, after a successful special operation of Mujahideen in the village of Artshty, apostates hastened to declare that the group of Mujahideen, participated in the operation, is “blocked up and its being pursued”.
Ths time the Bamut village is declared a place of “blockade”.
Apostates claim that a group of up to 20 Mujahideen has been “overtaken” near Bamut village last night and has been “blocked up by joint forces of Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ingushetia and Chechnya”.
Puppet ringleaders said that “a gun battle took place, artillery and mortar fire was opened on positions of militants. The operation is continuing.
Yesterday the ringleader of apostates Kadyrov has once again promised “to kill all involved in the attack on olicemen”.
We would like to indicate thereupon that since the beginning of the so-called “large-scale operation” against the Mujahideen, declared by infidels and apostates as far back as May 16, 2009 after Martyrdom Operation in the city of Jokhar, the invaders and their puppets have repeatedly announced new “large-scale operations”, in which constant “pursuing of the militants” are taking place, “caches and bases” are being found, and the Mujahideen are suffering “heavy casualties”.
The practice shows that after next Mujahideen successful special operation, infidels and apostates abruptly increase information activity, make all kind of statements, and constantly announce death (or injury) of leaders of the Mujahideen.
Meanwhile, according to Kavkaz Center’s source in Chechnya, during the operation Arshty apostates had suffered heavy casualties.
Sources convey that more than 20 corpses of Kadyrovites have been brought to only one village of Khambi-Irze (Achkhoi-Martan District). The total number of eliminated puppet police is 48 people. Only 14 people are left from the squad of apostates and all of them are injured. 4 UAZ minibuses were destroyed. The convoy consisted of more than 5 vehicles, Russian sources said.
Let’s remind that apostates said only 9 puppet policemen was eliminated and 10 others wounded and allegedly claimed that only 35 policemen from “Achkhoi-Martan police department” gang were in the convoy.
Publication time: 5 July 2009