RIA Novosti reported on October 18 that a large-scale security operation aimed at tracking down rebel fighters was being carried out in Nalchik. The operation began in the Iskozh district near the 3rd police precinct building, with armored personnel carriers surrounding areas and preventing residents from leaving their homes. An Interior Ministry spokeswoman, Marina Kyasova, said that one suspected rebel fighter was killed when three men resisted police who had stopped them for a document check. The other two men managed to escape. The separatist Daymohk website quoted a source in Nalchik as claiming that local residents were being attacked and killed and that the Russian special services had taken women hostage. “Many of my friends, who were not members of a jamaat were killed,” the source told the website. “They were not rebels. They have never even prayed. Thus, thanks to the Russian punitive operations more and more people in Kabardino-Balkaria are joining the resistance movement, as was the case in Chechnya.”
Meanwhile, large numbers of ethnic Chechens have left Kabardino-Balkaria since the October 13 attack on Nalchik, Regnum reported on October 17. According to the news agency, Chechens were leaving the republic’s capital en masse out of fear that they might be attacked by the local population. It quoted Chechens as saying that the situation in Grozny is now quieter than in Nalchik. Regnum reported that prior to the October 13 raid, an estimated 60,000 Chechens lived in Kabardino-Balkaria.