Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 9 Issue: 40

Gunmen Take Hostages at Checkpoint and Gambling Parlor in Ingushetia

Reuters reported on October 24 that armed men drove into Ingushetia from neighboring Chechnya and abducted up to 15 people including policemen from a checkpoint and a slot machine parlor. According to the news agency, witnesses said the gunmen, dressed in camouflage, entered Ingushetia from Chechnya late on October 23 and presented themselves as police officers. Chechen authorities said they had nothing to do with the raid. An Ingush police officer, who did not want to give his name, told Reuters the attackers drove to a checkpoint on the border between Chechnya and Ingushetia, disarmed the guards and took at least one Ingush policeman hostage. The officer said the attackers, who claimed to be Chechen police but did not present any documents to prove this, then headed to the nearby Ingush village of Ordzhonikidzevskaya, where they went into a slot machine parlor and kidnapped more people. “At this stage the investigation cannot give the precise number of those kidnapped,” the officer said. “We still believe their number is between 10 and 15. It is certain that there are several policemen among them, and their life is in danger.” RIA Novosti quoted an anonymous police spokesman as saying that the attackers abducted around 15 people, including one Ingush police officer, three Chechen police officers and civilians. Reuters quoted some witnesses as saying they believed the gunmen had fled with their hostages in several cars in the direction of Chechnya, but added that other witnesses said the gunmen had driven deeper into Ingushetia. As the news agency noted, Islamist insurgents in Ingushetia frequently target gambling halls and shops selling alcohol, saying they contradict Islam.

General Says Terrorists From 52 Countries Have Died in the North Caucasus

The deputy commander of the Russian Interior Ministry’s Internal Troops, Gen.-Col. Valery Baranov, claimed in an interview published in the newspaper Krasnaya Zvezda on October 22 that over the course of the counter-terrorism operation in the North Caucasus, Russian forces have killed militants from 52 countries. “During the time I’ve been there, we destroyed mercenaries from 52 countries of the world,” he told the paper. “Professionals in military affairs, in sabotage work, [and] lavishly financed. Many made it into Chechnya via the special services of various countries.” Baranov said that international terrorism continues to threaten Russia’s territorial integrity. “And it is worth noting that in recent years that internal armed conflicts more and more often arise and develop with the participation of a third force that remains in the shadows – international terrorism,” he said.