– RAMZAN PROPOSES TO MRS. KENYA
The Daily Telegraph reported on February 28 that during a visit to Chechnya by participants in the 2007 Mrs. World pageant, Chechnya’s acting president, Ramzan Kadyrov, offered Caroline Varkaik, Kenya’s contender in the contest, the opportunity to become one of his wives and, as the British newspaper put it, “sweetened the proposal by presenting her with two horses, two chickens and a goat.” According to the Daily Telegraph, the Kenyan beauty queen looked “briefly surprised” and then “clasped Mr. Kadyrov in a bear hug and promised to return in a year.” The paper added, “Touring Russia ahead of the contest’s finals, to be held in the Black Sea resort of Sochi on March 8, many of the beauty queens on board the charter flight that took them to the neighboring and almost lawless province of Ingushetia, were reportedly unaware of their destination. They were then whisked to Chechnya in a convoy of 15 black Porsches, with armed soldiers positioned every 500 yards along the 30-mile road to protect them from rebel attack.” It is worth noting that Kadyrov has on several occasions spoken in favor of polygamy, but last October denied that he is “trying to introduce polygamy” or force it upon anyone (Chechnya Weekly, October 5, February 2 and 16, January 19, 2006).
– FIVE CHECHEN POLICEMEN DIE IN BLAST
Russian news agencies reported on February 23 that five police officers had been killed in an explosion at the base of a Chechen Interior Ministry subunit in the Gudermes district. RIA Novosti quoted a republican Interior Ministry source as saying that the incident occurred at a deployment site of the Akhmat Kadyrov Regiment in the settlement of Novogroznensky (also known as Oyskhara) on the administrative border with Dagestan. “Preliminary reports say it was an accident caused by the careless handling of munitions,” the source told the news agency. Later, on February 23, RIA Novosti reported that the blast had occurred not at the subunit’s base, but near a school. The news agency quoted an Interior Ministry source as saying that the policemen had discovered a mine “in the immediate vicinity of the school and, risking their lives, tried to disarm it, to avoid harm to the children,” but that the device had detonated, killing five policemen and wounding two.
– ARMED INTRUDERS RAID INGUSH OFFICIAL’S HOUSE
The separatist Daymohk website, citing the Chechen National Salvation Committee, reported on February 23 that five armed people wearing camouflage uniforms and masks had broken into the house of Magomed Yandiev, chief of staff of the Ingush People’s Assembly, in the village of Ali-Yurt the previous day. According to Chechen National Salvation Committee sources, the attackers, who spoke in accented Russian, beat Yandiev’s son and wife with the butts of their assault rifles and apparently stole money, valuables and weapons from the house.