Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 6 Issue: 16

Kavkazky Uzel reported on April 23 that eight residents of the village of Starye Atagi in Chechnya’s Groznensky district had been kidnapped over the previous month. The website cited the Council of Chechen Non-Governmental Organizations, which in turn cited testimony from villagers, who said that the abductors seemed to be either military personnel or members of local power structures. On April 20, a 23-year-old Starye Atagi resident named Gakaev was stopped on the street by soldiers who then forced him into a car and drove off to an unknown destination. Earlier, a villager named Maaev, who currently has a business in Moscow, was kidnapped by armed men in camouflage two days after arriving in Starye Atagi from the Russian capital. He was freed several days later after his parents paid a large ransom. On April 19, two Starye Atagi residents were seized by members of “power structures”. One of them turned out to be a policeman and was released after questioning, but the fate of the other man remains unknown.

On April 16, a 22-year-old Starye Atagi resident with the surname Yupaeva was kidnapped in front of the hospital where she worked as a nurse. On April 15, Russian troops and local security personnel detained a Ruslan Ebaev, a 50-year-old father of two, during a special operation in Starye Atagi. According to Ebaev’s relatives, he neither participated in fighting in either of Chechnya’s two wars nor belonged to any non-governmental organization or movement. On March 26, Starye Atagi resident Aslan Turluev was abducted by armed men in uniforms who were reportedly members of RUBOP, the regional anti-organized crime directorate. Turluev’s relatives claimed he was forced to sign a document saying he was rebel fighter. On March 19, a 34-year-old Starye Atagi resident, Rizvan Oibuev, was taken out of his home by kidnappers who, before driving him off to points unknown, beat his parents when they tried to block prevent his abduction.

The Russian-Chechen Friendship Society reported on April 22 that Achkoi-Martan resident Vasi Buchaev was kidnapped in the Achkoi-Martan district center by unknown persons on April 19. Relatives of Buchaev managed to trace the kidnappers to the city of Gudermes but were unable to find out where he was being held. The Prima news agency reported on April 22 that armed men had abducted a teacher at a school in the Nozhai-Yurt district.

Meanwhile, Kavkazky Uzel reported on April 26 that security forces were carrying out a number of special operations in the Shali district, including so-called “targeted” mopping-up operations in the village of Serzhen-Yurt. According to a villager, on April 25 security personnel searched several houses in Serzhen-Yurt and took one person off to an unknown destination. Also on April 25, members of Chechnya’s presidential security service carried out a special operation in the city of Shali, where they detained local inhabitants whom they suspected of belonging to rebel groups. Security operations were also carried out in the settlements of Duba-Yurt and Avtury. Several Shali district residents told Kavkazky Uzel’s correspondent that the raids in the district were connected to a “noticeable” increase in rebel activity.