–FEDERAL SERVICEMEN KILLED IN REBEL ATTACKS
Agence France-Presse, citing a source inside Chechnya’s pro-Moscow administration, reported that one Russian serviceman and two Chechen policemen were killed on March 2 in 11 rebel attacks carried out across Chechnya that day. The Russian serviceman was killed and another wounded when their vehicle hit a mine in the village of Itum-Kale, while a Chechen policeman was killed and another wounded in a battle with rebels in Serzhen-Yurt. A second Chechen policeman was killed and another wounded in a firefight in Grozny. Meanwhile, three troops from the federal Interior Ministry’s Internal Troops were killed in a March 3 shootout with militants in Chechnya’s Kurchaloi district, Interfax reported on March 6, citing a local law enforcement source. The incident took place after the servicemen encountered a rebel unit numbering up to 20 people while carrying out reconnaissance in a wooded area near the settlement of Niki-Khita.
–CLERICS DENOUNCE KIDNAPPING OF ZYAZIKOV’S FATHER-IN-LAW
The Spiritual Board of the Muslims of Ingushetia on March 7 called for the release of People’s Assembly of Ingushetia deputy Magomed Chakhkiev, Kavkazky Uzel reported. Members of the Council of Alims [Muslim scholars] said the kidnapping, which took place in late February (see Chechnya Weekly, March 6) was not only a crime against a person but against the whole nation, given that Chakhkiev is an elected representative. The Ingush clerics also condemned the kidnapping as a violation of all the canons of Islam and Ingush traditions. The whereabouts of the 71 year-old Chakhkiev, who is the father-in-law of Ingush President Murat Zyazikov, remain unknown.
–ATTACK WOUNDS DAGESTANI DISTRICT CHIEF
The head of the administration of Dagestan’s Magarapentsly district, Musaefendi Velimuradov, was wounded along with his deputy in a drive-by shooting, Itar-Tass reported on March 9. The two officials were staying at a dacha near the village of Khazar in the Derbent district. “At 20:30 the officials went out to see off a guest,” a duty officer at Dagestan’s Interior Ministry told Itar-Tass. “Two unidentified gunmen who were passing in a car fired several shots at the administration chief and his deputy. The criminals escaped from the attack site.” The two men were hospitalized with bullet wounds. Meanwhile, Dagestan’s Parliament on March 7 unanimously appointed Shamil Zainalov, Dagestan’s former representative at the Russian Federation Council, the upper house of parliament, to the post of republican prime minister. Dagestan’s Parliament also elected the republic’s former prime minister, Atay Aliev, as their new representative in the Russian Federation Council. The appointments followed the parliament’s February 20 approval of President Vladimir Putin’s nominee, Mukhu Aliev, to the post of Dagestani president.
–REBELS CLAIM ATTACK IN NORTH OSSETIA
The website of the Chechen separatist Kavkazcenter news agency on March 7 posted a claim of responsibility by the “Ossetian jamaat” for the killing of two alleged informers and the wounding of another. According to the claim, “mujahideen” ambushed “traitors” who had pretended to be “sympathetic to the mujahideen cause” but “reportedly collected operational information for the infidels” that led to the arrest of several people, including the widow of a rebel commander in Chechnya’s Nadterechny district. The attack took place on the evening of March 7 in Mozdok, North Ossetia, when a car carrying the “traitors” came under “point blank” gunfire. “It is noteworthy that the operational information was received from local residents,” the claim read. “It shows that more and more local Muslims are supporting the mujahideen, something that was quite unthinkable before.”