–RANSOM DEMANDS PUT FORWARD FOR ZYAZIKOV’S FATHER-IN-LAW
Kommersant reported on March 30 that a month after the kidnapping of Magomed Chakhkiev, a deputy in the parliament of Ingushetia and father-in-law of the republic’s president, Murat Zyazikov (see Chechnya Weekly, March 6), someone calling himself “Khabibulla” and describing himself as the emir of the Ingush jamaat “Sharia” had made contact with Zyazikov and Chakhkiev’s other son-in-law, Ingushetian Prosecutor Makhmud Ali Kalimatov, demanding that they both resign in exchange for Chakhkiev’s release. Khabibulla accused Chakhkiev of “collaboration with the occupation regime, genocide of Muslims and kindling dissension between Muslims,” adding that the hostage had already admitted to his “crimes” and that his fate would be determined by a “court-martial.” Yet since Chakhkiev had “actively helped the investigation,” Khabibulla stated, the captive was being given the chance to “ransom” his life before sentence was passed—the ransom being either the release “from prison all of our brother-mujahideen” or the resignation of Zyazikov and Kalimatov. Kommersant reported that both Zyazikov and Kalimatov were ignoring the ransom demand, and quoted a republican police investigator as saying that the “Sharia jamaat” moniker was simply used by the real kidnappers “to confuse us.”
–MORE VIOLENCE IN DAGESTAN
A group of militants were killed in a shootout with security forces in the Dagestani city of Khasavyurt. Interfax quoted a Dagestani Interior Ministry source on March 29 as saying that the house in which the militants were found caught fire during the shootout and burnt down completely. “The militants, among them Khasavyurt extremist leader Samir Pashaev, suspected of committing a series of crimes against law enforcement officials, were destroyed in a private house, where they were hiding,” the source said. Police reported they had found remains that may be Pashaev’s in the house. Meanwhile, RIA Novosti reported on March 30 the arrest of the driver of a car whose passengers had shot two policemen in Makhachkala the previous day. One of the car’s passengers wounded two traffic policemen during a routine document check in the Dagestani capital on March 29. The attacker stole a Kalashnikov rifle from one of the wounded policemen and managed to escape together with the car’s other passenger.
–GROZNY MARKS ECLIPSE WITH GUNFIRE
“Intense gunfire” was heard in the Chechen capital of Grozny during the solar eclipse seen in many parts of the world on March 29, Kavkazky Uzel reported, citing RIA Novosti. RIA Novosti attributed this to the “strange Chechen tradition” of shooting during an eclipse.