Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 6 Issue: 2


Stepan Shupshanov, a resident of the Chechen village of Naurskaya, was hospitalized with multiple shrapnel wounds after stepping on a mine that had apparently been planted by separatist rebels in the cemetery where he worked as a watchman. On January 10, Interfax quoted a Chechen Interior Ministry source as saying that an incident involving civilians injured by explosive devices takes place almost weekly. “Most often it happens when children pick up various objects that turn out to be booby-trapped, and also when residents of settlements in the mountains are gathering firewood,” the source said.


A total of 332 Chechens will go to Saudi Arabia for the 2005 Hajj, the Deputy Mufti of the Chechen Republic, Mohmad Dadaev, told Itar-Tass on January 8. Each Chechen hajji, he said, paid for the trip with his own money, at a cost of around US$1,300. According to the news agency, about a thousand residents of Chechnya wanted to travel to Mecca, but problems obtaining Russian foreign travel passports prevented the rest from making the pilgrimage this year.


The Kavkazcenter website on January 10 posted a letter signed by the “Yarmuk” Jamaat of Mujahideen of Kabardino-Balkaria, which claimed responsibility for the December 14 attack on a regional branch of the Federal Drug Control Service (FSKN) in Nalchik, Kabardino-Balkaria’s capital. The letter declared that the “doors of Jihad” in Kabardino-Balkaria, Karachaevo-Cherkessia and the Republic of Adygea, were opened in the 19th century, “when the Russian aggressors arrived in our land, bringing with them death, destruction and grief. Our people were colonized and the land occupied by Tsarist Russia. Millions of Muslims of the North Caucasus were expelled from their native land by the Russians.” The letter’s authors stated that the “doors of Jihad” would close in the region only when Sharia law is established there and the “occupied land belongs to our peoples.”