–MORE SHOOTOUTS IN DAGESTAN
The interior ministries of Dagestan and Chechnya carried out a joint special operation in the Dagestani city of Khasavyurt on April 5, during which two rebels and a three-year-old child were killed. Colonel Aitemir Salimgireyev, head of the Interior Ministry’s Khasavyurt branch, told Interfax that a group of militants hiding out in an apartment opened fire on police who had come to find out who they were. In the ensuing battle, two rebels were killed and one taken prisoner, while one Chechen policeman was seriously wounded. A woman from a neighboring apartment was also seriously wounded and her three-year-old son was killed. Deputy Chechen Prime Minister Ramzan Kadyrov identified the dead militants as Abdul Kadyrov, the “emir” of Chechnya’s Gudermes district, and someone named Dibirov – who, according to Ramzan Kadyrov, was the “emir” of Dagestan’s Khasavyurt district. Kadyrov said that Chechen Interior Ministry and presidential security service personnel took part in the operation. Aitemir Salimgireyev told Interfax that security forces captured a rebel fighter, identified only by his first name, Anvar, who was wanted for carrying out a 2003 terrorist attack on the Khasavyurt Interior Ministry and the murder of several policemen.
–CHECHEN-RUSSIAN TREATY ALMOST READY
Russian presidential adviser Aslambek Aslakhanov told a press conference in Moscow on April 4 that a treaty on the division of powers between the federal authorities and Chechnya is almost ready for signing. Aslakhanov said that the State Legal Department had criticized the initial version of the treaty, and clauses that contradicted the Russian constitution were excluded from the document. “The treaty will be signed at a convenient time,” he said.
–UNEMPLOYMENT HITS 80 PERCENT
Chechen Minister of Economic Development and Trade Abdual Magomadov said on April 5 that unemployment in the republic has hit 80 percent. “The number of unemployed in the Chechen Republic at the moment in 467,700 people,” he told Interfax. He said that in 2004, the quantity of unemployed increased significantly, with 14,200 more unemployed people than at the end of 2003. Magomadov said he thought the main reason for the high unemployment level was the slow tempo of rebuilding establishments in both the manufacturing and service sectors, which earlier were the main sources of jobs.
–AFP: SIX RUSSIAN SERVICEMEN KILLED OVER APRIL 3-4
Agence France-Presse reported on April 4 that fighting between pro-Moscow forces and separatists over the previous 24 hours had killed six people on the Russian sided and injured five. Citing an anonymous pro-Moscow administration official, the news agency reported that in one incident, a Russian soldier was killed and two wounded when their jeep blew up near the village of Tsa-Vedeno in mountainous southern Chechnya. Two Russian sappers died trying to defuse a bomb near the village of Chechen-Aul, while a Chechen policeman was killed and his partner injured by a mine explosion near the western Chechen town of Sernovodsk. Two other troops were killed and two wounded in attacks elsewhere in the republic. A Russian military spokesman, meanwhile, told Interfax on April 5 that a resident of Chechnya’s Gudermes district guided federal forces to a base belonging to rebel field commander Akhmed Avdorkhanov, which was destroyed. Separately, a Russian military spokesman told Interfax on April 5 that information provided by a former militant had led to the capture in Grozny’s Staropromyslovsky district of two fighters loyal to rebel field commander Islam Mashtakov.
–AIDE: PUTIN’S OPEN TO DISCUSSING CHECHNYA
Presidential aide Sergei Yastrzhembsky reported on April 5 that President Putin had informed European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana about the situation in Chechnya. “The president emphasized that Russian has no closed issues about Chechnya,” Itar-Tass quoted Yastrzhembsky as saying. “We are ready to discuss any aspect of issues relating to Chechnya.”
–NEWSPAPER: BASAEV IS PLANNING A VICTORY DAY ATTACK
Gzt.ru on March 4 quoted Russian “siloviki” as saying that Chechen rebel warlord Shamil Basaev is planning to carry out a large-scale terrorist attack on May 9 – Russia’s “Victory Day,” marking the end of World War Two. The website, which belongs to the Gazeta newspaper, wrote that while the attack is likely to take place in Chechnya, “no one can rule out that its target could be Moscow, where the leaders of dozens of countries will be gathering for the celebrations [of the] 60th anniversary of the victory.” According to gzt.ru, security officials received information about Basaev’s plans from captured rebels from units subordinate to Basaev, Doku Umarov and lesser-known rebel field commanders. The prisoners also gave information that led to the capture of several caches of arms and “high-powered homemade explosive devices, large supplies of TNT and a homemade mounting for firing unguided missile warheads,” the website reported, adding that the special services have concluded “that the extremists plan to use this arsenal in Chechnya in the near future, most likely on Victory Day.”