– Six Rebels Reportedly Killed in Dagestan Fighting
A spokesman for Russia’s Interior Ministry said on January 10 that Russian troops killed six rebels during a special forces operation in the Tabasaransky district of southern Dagestan, Reuters reported. Itar-Tass reported on January 8 that a militant had been killed and a Russian army serviceman injured in fighting in Dagestan’s Tabasaransky district (see Andrei Smirnov’s piece below). Meanwhile, on January 9, a bomb blast in Dagestan’s capital, Makhachkala, hit a car in which Gazi Gaziev, the top railway official in Dagestan and a member of the republic’s legislature, was riding, the Associated Press reported. The news agency quoted Akhmed Magomaev, head of Makhachkala’s transport police, as saying that Gaziev and his driver were hospitalized with minor injuries and their lives were not in danger.
– Ingush Insurgents Kill Border Guards and Police Officer
A police officer was killed and another wounded in an attack by rebels in Ingushetia on January 8, Interfax reported. “Small arms and grenade launchers were used in the attack,” the news agency quoted a North Caucasus security official as saying. “A major from the Sunzha district police department was killed, and a lieutenant from the town of Salsk in the Rostov region was wounded. He was hospitalized, and he is out of danger now.” On December 27, rebels in Ingushetia ambushed a border guard’s vehicle, killing two officers and wounding two other servicemen, the Associated Press reported, citing the Interior Ministry branch for Ingushetia.
– Russian Officers Sentenced for Murder of Chechen Construction Workers
On December 27, a military court Rostov-on-Don sentenced two Russian Interior Troops officers, Lieutenant Yevgeny Khudyakov and Lieutenant Sergei Arakcheyev, to 17 years and 15 years in prison, respectively, for the murders of three construction workers at a checkpoint outside Grozny in January 2003, the Associated Press reported. Khudyakov failed to show up for the verdict. Civilian juries had twice acquitted them for lack of evidence, but the case was sent to the military court after the Supreme Court’s military branch annulled the verdicts at the request of Chechnya’s Moscow-backed government (Chechnya Weekly, October 13, 2005 and January 18, 2007).
– Golos Beslana Goes on Trial for “Extremism”
Golos Beslana (Voice of Beslan), the group led by women in North Ossetia who lost relatives in the September 2004 school hostage siege in which more than 300 hostages died, more than half of them children, said on January 10 that Russian prosecutors are charging it with extremism. Reuters reported that the group, which has accused senior security officials of bungling the security operation in Beslan, said on its website (Golosbeslana.ru) that prosecutors had filed charges over a 2005 appeal the group issued to politicians in Europe and the United States and that a trial will get underway on January 14 in Nazran in neighboring Ingushetia. “It is self-evident they are carrying out an order from Moscow,” Ella Kesayeva, who co-chairs Golos Beslana, told Reuters. “They may now declare our organization an extremist one and shut it down altogether. What do Ingush prosecutors have to do with a public organization registered in North Ossetia? We are a thorn in the flesh for authorities because we are holding an investigation of our own and point to the culprits of the tragedy, including top-level officials.”