Against the backdrop of an upsurge in violence in Ingushetia, Suleiman Vagapov, a deputy presidential envoy to the Southern Federal District suggested that a group bent on revenge for the September 2004 Beslan school hostage seizure, in which more than 330 people died, may be responsible for the kidnappings of ethnic Ingush in North Ossetia. Vagapov spoke to journalists on July 16 about the report on kidnappings in North Ossetia, which includes the theory that a gang has been kidnapping people in revenge for Beslan, Newsru.com reported on July 17. Vagapov said an operational-investigative group from the federal Interior Ministry had been brought in to probe the kidnappings of the inhabitants of North Ossetia’s Prigorodny district and that there are 238 people in the current data base of people missing in North Ossetia, 26 of whom are ethnic Ingush. In 2006-2007, 25 Ossetians and 19 Ingush and Chechens were kidnapped in North Ossetia, Vagapov said.
Presidential envoy to the Southern Federal District Dmitry Kozak told journalists on July 17 that a gang taking revenge for the Beslan school hostage seizure is only one of several possible theories for the abductions of ethnic Ingush in North Ossetia. Kozak also suggested that some kidnappings could have been staged, but said it was too early to reach any conclusions and that a special group made up of federal and local prosecutors and Interior Ministry officials had been set up to investigate abductions in the Prigorodny district, Kavkazky Uzel reported on July 17. Kavkazky Uzel reported on July 18 that the Memorial human rights group had addressed open letters to North Ossetian President Taimuraz Mamsurov and federal Prosecutor General Yury Chaika calling for immediate investigations into the abductions of ethnic Ingush in North Ossetia’s Prigorodny district and the North Ossetian capital, Vladikavkaz. The disappearance of two elderly Ingush men, Mukhazhir Gaisanov and Magomed Torshkhoev, in Vladikavkaz on July 7 sparked protests.