Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 6 Issue: 33

A Russian serviceman was killed and four were injured on September 5 when a landmine detonated under their Ural automobile in the Shali district, Radio Liberty’s Russian service reported. An explosive wounded the commander of a reconnaissance unit in the Nozhai-Yurt district, RIA Novosti reported on September 5, quoting a Chechen law-enforcement source.

Radio Liberty’s Russian service reported on September 4 that one Russia serviceman was killed and four others wounded in the Shali district when the car in which they were traveling hit a landmine. Meanwhile, two policemen were wounded during an operation in Kurchaloi district where three rebel fighters were captured. Two policemen were wounded when unknown assailants opened fire on them in the Kurchaloi district village of Tsentoroi. Meanwhile, Chechen Interior Minister Ruslan Alkhanov reported that two explosive devices had been discovered and defused in Grozny—a car-bomb in the courtyard of an apartment building in the Oktyabrsky district and a land-mine hidden in a trash can 500 meters from a middle school in the Leninsky district.

Kavkazky Uzel reported on September 3 that a large-scale battle between Chechen rebels and the Vostok battalion, the unit headed by Sulim Yamadaev that is part of the Main Intelligence Unit (GRU) of the armed forces’ general staff, was taking place in southern Chechnya’s mountainous Vedeno district. Citing a source in the Chechen military commandant’s office, the website reported that two rebels had been killed and three Vostok members wounded in the fighting, which erupted on the outskirts of the village of Ersenoi when Vostok members on a reconnaissance mission came across a rebel unit made up of approximately twelve men. The Russian-Chechen Friendship Society, meanwhile, reported on September 3 that federal forces shelled woods near the village of Elistanzhi, also in the Vedeno district, following the shelling the previous evening of a wooded area between Elistanzhi and the village of Khattuni. The society’s website quoted local residents as saying they believed that intense shelling was in response to stepped up rebel activity in the area. Indeed, Kavkaz Uzel reported on September 1 that a federal unit carrying out combat-engineering reconnaissance on the outskirts of Elistanzhi had been the target of a radio-controlled improvised explosive device, and that immediately after the explosion an escort vehicle had come under fire from unknown gunmen. No one was hurt in that incident. On August 31, unknown attackers fired from a grenade launcher at an outpost of the same unit. No one was hurt.

Meanwhile, fighting was taking place in other parts of Chechnya. A Chechen Interior Ministry source told Kavkazy Uzel that a bomb blew up a police vehicle in Grozny’s Leninsky district on August 30, killing one officer and wounding three. Another federal serviceman was seriously wounded by a mine on the outskirts of the village of Uskhaloi in the Itum-Kale disrtrict.

Agence France-Presse on August 30 quoted on anonymous official from the pro-Moscow Chechen administration as saying that a bomb expert and two other servicemen had been killed over a 24-hour period. The source said that rebels had carried out six attacks on federal checkpoints and military bases during that period, killing a soldier and wounding three others. Another soldier was killed and three others injured when their jeep drove over a mine in Grozny’s Oktyabrsky district. The Russian explosives expert was killed and another was hurt when a mine they were attempting to defuse blew up near the town of Kalinovskaya south of Grozny, the source said. Meanwhile, two police officers were wounded when their truck came under fire.

An anonymous pro-Moscow Chechen administration official told AFP on August 29 that six Russian soldiers had been killed and six wounded over the previous 24 hours. According to the source, Russian positions came under attack 17 times during that period, accounting for five of the dead and five of the wounded, while the sixth soldier killed died in a landmine explosion near the town of Shatoi and the sixth soldier wounded was injured while conducting a de-mining operation near the village of Komsomolskoye, south of Grozny. Meanwhile, three Chechen police officers were wounded during fighting with rebels in the town of Achkhoi-Martan. One rebel was killed and another captured in the fighting. Two other Chechen police officers were wounded when rebels attacked during a search operation in the Urus-Martan district village of Gekhi, AFP reported. Both Kavkazky Uzel and AFP reported that the Chechen government headquarters in Grozny came under heavy fire from grenade launchers and machine guns on August 29.