– North Caucasus Bombers Target Police, Soldiers, an Official’s Home…
Unknown attackers hurled a grenade into the courtyard of the home of Ingushetia’s deputy culture minister, Alla Malsagova, on March 31, Interfax reported. A car was damaged but no on hurt in the incident. It was the second-such incident: on February 5, a grenade was thrown into the same courtyard. No one was hurt in that blast. According to the opposition Ingushetiya.ru website, both attacks may have been aimed against Malsagova’s son, Makhmud, who lives in the same house and is the coordinator of Ingushetiya.ru’s “People’s Computer” program. Ingushetiya.ru reported on April 2 that the grenade that exploded in the Malsagova home’s courtyard on March 31 was thrown by Uruzbi Zyazikov, the brother of Ruslanbek Zyazikov, who heads the security detail for Ingushetia’s president, Murat Zyazikov, and is a relative of the Ingush president. In Dagestan, a passerby was killed in an explosion that took place near the monument to the Defender of the Fatherland in Makhachkala, the republic’s capital, on April 2 as a police car was passing by. None of the policemen was injured in the blast. A police car was the target of a bombing in the Dagestani city of Khasavyurt on April 1, Kavkazky Uzel reported. There were no passengers in the car at the time of the blast, and the car’s driver was uninjured due to the fact that the vehicle was armored. In Chechnya, a law-enforcement source denied a report that an armored personnel carrier had been bombed in the Staropromyslovsky district of Grozny on April 1 and three Defense Ministry servicemen were wounded, RIA Novosti reported.
– …and a Wedding
Nineteen people were injured on March 29 when a grenade was thrown during a brawl at a wedding in the Chechen village of Sary-Su, Agence France-Presse reported. An official in the district mayor’s office told Interfax that the incident occurred during a large wedding celebration attended by most local residents as well as a group of visitors when a brawl broke out between the locals and the visitors. “Taking advantage of their superior numbers some youths from Sary-Su beat up the guests,” the source said. “These in turn called some comrades up for help and the conflict reached a new level. In the ensuing brawl one participant threw a grenade.” The official said that 19 people suffered shrapnel wounds and one injured woman was in critical condition. RIA Novosti quoted a local police source as saying most of the 19 injured were aged between 17 and 25. In Ingushetia, one person was killed and another wounded when an unidentified attacker opened fire on people attending a wedding at a home in Nazran on March 23, Newsru.com reported.
– Politkovskaya’s Alleged Killer Named
Komsomolskaya Pravda reported on March 29 that a 30-year-old Chechen, Rustam Makhmudov, was the triggerman in the October 2006 contract-style killing of Novaya Gazeta correspondent Anna Politikovskaya. Echo Moskvy Radio reported that Makhmudov was the brother of a man already arrested in connection with the murder. The reports surfaced a day after an announcement by prosecutor Vyacheslav Smirnov that the Russian authorities knew the name of Politkovskaya’s killer. As Germany’s DPA news agency noted, a similar claim had been made last October, prompting protests about foot-dragging from Politkovskaya’s former colleagues at Novaya Gazeta. Lyudmila Alekseyeva, head of the Moscow Helsinki Group and a leading Russian human rights activist, said Smirnov’s statement was “concocted” to preserve the reputations of prosecutors and timed to coincide with vital diplomatic meetings. “News that a suspect has been established could have been announced in connection with a forthcoming NATO summit and Russian-US meetings there,” Alekseyeva told Interfax.
– Two Reportedly Admit to Killing Dagestani Journalist
Officials in Tajikistan said on March 31 that two men from Tajikistan admitted robbing and killing Ilyas Shurpaev, a Dagestani reporter for Russia’s state-run TV network Channel One who was found dead in his rented Moscow apartment on March 21, the Associated Press reported (Chechnya Weekly, March 27). Tajik Interior Ministry spokesman Makhmadali Shafoatov said one of the two suspects, Masrudzhon Yatimov, claimed Shurpaev had invited him to his house on March 12 and offered him money to have sexual relations, and that during the visit, Yatimov learned the reporter had just received a large money transfer. According to Shafoatov, Yatimov and another man returned to Shurpaev’s apartment on March 21 and killed the reporter after he resisted.