Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 10 Issue: 10

Chechnya: Civilian Killed, Policeman Wounded, Arms Seized

A civilian was killed on March 12 when an antipersonnel mine detonated in a wooded area near the village of Dargo in Chechnya’s Vedeno district, RIA Novosti reported. A traffic policeman was injured on March 12 when an Interior Ministry convoy came under fire in the village of Bamut in Chechnya’s Achkhoi-Martan district. Interfax reported that earlier in the day, a driver and his two passengers were injured when the vehicle he was driving hit an explosive device near Bamut. Interfax reported on March 10 that federal Interior Ministry troops discovered an arms cache near the town of Avtury in Chechnya’s Shali district that contained a landmine, several rocket-propelled grenade rounds, hand grenades and more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition of various types. Another arms cache that included seven 82 mm mines was discovered near the village of Chervlennaya in Chechnya’s Shelkovsky district on March 10, Itar-Tass reported. The commander of the United Group of Forces in the North Caucasus, Lt.-Gen. Nikolai Sivak, reported on March 11 that units had conducted 96 operations in February, uncovering nine rebel bases and 20 weapons caches, Interfax reported. Sivak said his forces last month seized 12 firearms, two grenade launchers, about 4,000 rounds of ammunition and 77 rounds for grenade launchers, while destroying six homemade bombs, 360 mines and 316 kilograms of explosives.

Former Chechen Official Charged for Aiding Politkovskaya Killer

Russian prosecutors announced on March 12 that they have charged Milana Mezhieva, the official who oversaw the granting of passports in Chechnya, for allegedly giving a false passport to Rustam Makhmudov, the man accused of killing journalist Anna Politkovskaya, which allowed Makhmudov to flee the country. According to Agence France-Presse, the Investigative Committee of the Prosecutor General’s Office said in a statement that in December 2007, Mezhieva received a request from Makhmudov, who was then being sought over the murder, for a passport in the name of someone who had died in 2001. The statement said Mezhieva was being charged with corruption after she accepted a $300 bribe for improperly giving out a passport, but did not specify whether the bribe was paid on behalf of Makhmudov. Last month, a Moscow jury acquitted four men—including two of Makhmudov’s brothers—who had been suspected of helping organize Politkovskaya’s October 2006 murder.

Nine Charged with Murders of Three North Ossetian Officials

Nine alleged members of a criminal group have been charged with the murders of three senior officials in North Ossetia, including Vladikavkaz Mayor Vitaly Karaev, who was killed last November, and his predecessor Kazbek Pagiev, who was killed a month later. Reuters on March 12 quoted prosecutors as saying that the gang also killed a senior police official and his son in North Ossetia in October. Three of those charged are currently in prison while the other six are now the subject of an international manhunt.