–BODIES OF FOUR MISSING VILLAGERS DISCOVERED
The Nazran-based Council of Non-Governmental Organizations reported on March 20 that the bodies of four men had been discovered on the outskirts of the village of Novye Atagi on March 15. Village residents said the bodies had been left hanging on trees as if they had been tossed down (from a helicopter). The four men were identified as Novye Atagi residents who had disappeared along with a local woman five months earlier after setting out for Nalchik, Kabardino-Balkaria, in a mini-van to purchase some goods. Their vehicle was later found in a wooded area. The fate of the woman remains unknown.
–EXPLOSIONS IN INGUSHETIA
A bomb went off on March 17 on a railway line near the town of Karabulak in Ingushetia, after which an explosion ripped through a cell phone base transmitter in Ingushetia’s Nazran district, MosNews reported, citing local media. The first blast occurred on the morning of March 17 as a locomotive pulling five oil-tank cars was moving along the railway not far from an oil base. The blast damaged the railway track. Later that morning, unknown people blew up a mobile phone base station located in the yard of the local administration’s building in the village of Ekazhevo in the Nazran district. The blast heavily damaged the facility and also set fire to a low-pressure pipeline supplying the village with gas. No one was injured in the explosions.
–SHEPEL CONCERNED ABOUT KIDNAPPING
Russian Deputy Prosecutor General Nikolai Shepel on March 20 expressed concern over continuing abductions in Chechnya and Ingushetia, Interfax reported. “Kidnappings remain among the most sensitive problems facing Chechnya and Ingushetia,” he told an extended session in Rostov-on-Don of the Federation Council’s committee on law enforcement and judiciary with the heads of key ministries and departments of the Southern Federal District in attendance. “Although we are keeping our attention focused on this problem, there has been little improvement so far,” Shepel said. “Since the beginning of the counter-terrorist operation, 1,931 cases on 2,708 kidnappings have been opened, including 175 cases on 228 kidnappings in 2005.” Shepel said that only 17 percent of last year’s kidnappings had been solved. “The kidnapping problem emerged during the anti-constitutional regime in Chechnya,” he said. “From 1996 to 1999, there was a network of criminal groups specializing in such crimes. Until 1999, Grozny and Urus Martan were the main slave trade centers in Chechnya.”
–CHECHEN ORPHANS MAY BE SENT TO MENTAL INSTITUTION
Islam.ru reported on March 20 that 26 Chechen orphans who had been evacuated during the 1995 bombardment of Grozny from a children’s home in the Chechen capital to one in Makhachkala, Dagestan, will be transferred to the Buinaksk Psychiatric Hospital when they turn 14-years-old, despite the fact that they are in good health. According to the website, the chairman of the Dagestani regional charitable group “Zabota,” Tamara Lakaeva, has appealed to the public for help in making the children wards of her organization. Of 31 children evacuated from the Grozny children’s home, five died in the Makhachkala home. The remaining children “are smart, good and, like everyone, want to live,” Lakaeva said in her appeal. “The ‘Zabota’ organization does not have the funds to acquire implements for the girls for dress-making courses or for joiner-carpenter courses for the boys. State structures and public organizations have not been able to render ‘Zabota’ the necessary support, as a result of which 29 children could after a time wind up in a psychiatric clinic.”