–REBELS ARMS THEMSELVES
An April 15 report by Umalt Dudayev for the London-based Institute for War and Peace Reporting (website www.iwpr.net ) shed light on the use of cheap, homemade but nevertheless highly deadly weapons by the rebel guerrillas in Chechnya. Dudayev concluded that “even if the Russian authorities were to manage to stop the theft of weapons, or their trade and sale to the rebels, a substantial arsenal will remain in their hands.”
One example is the Chechen-made 9-mm. Borz submachine gun — very light, small and flimsily made. A Russian officer told Dudayev that this weapon “has quite poor tactical and technical features. The 9-mm bullets from the [Russian-made] Makarov pistol, which the Borz uses, are too powerful for the steel from which the gun’s barrel is made and wear it out quickly….Nonetheless, I would describe this gun as ideal for saboteurs and killers….It has a fantastic rate of fire, and once all the bullets have been fired it can simply be thrown away. As far as I know, a Borz costs very little in Chechnya, about 100 U.S. dollars, and its production requires little effort or expense.”
–LATEST RUSSIAN CASUALTIES
Ten Russian servicemen were killed in attacks by rebel guerrillas during a 24-hour period ending on April 16, according to an Associated Press report based on information from an anonymous official in the Kadyrov administration. Two of these were shot dead in a gun battle near the village of Ersenoi in the southern highlands, another three in the Shatoi district. During that period at least 220 Chechens were detained in security sweeps.
About 600 federal servicemen have disappeared without at trace over the course of the two Chechen wars, according to Maria Fedulova of the Committee of Soldiers’ Mothers. Fedulova is also a member of Russia’s presidential commission on prisoners of war and soldiers missing in action. Her estimate was reported by the Grani.ru website on April 19.
Some 605 people were kidnapped in Chechnya over the course of calendar year 2003, according to a statement from the Federal Interior Ministry quoted by Radio Liberty last week. Only fifty-one of these were found alive. Another twenty-six are known to be dead.