Chechen Rebels Target Servicemen and Police

Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 9 Issue: 40

A serviceman was killed and two others wounded on October 23 when a bomb went off in Chechnya’s Shali district as a column of Russian troops was passing by, RIA Novosti reported. Two hours later, a landmine exploded when a group of police officers were en route to put out a blaze in a house on the outskirts of the Urus-Martan district. One of the officers was injured. When another group of police officers from the Chechen Interior Ministry arrived at the scene of the landmine explosion an hour later, a bomb went off, injuring seven of them.

Nezavisimaya Gazeta reported on October 20 that 27 Russian Defense Ministry servicemen had been killed since the start of the year according to the Defense Ministry’s own official information. The newspaper noted that while the federal Interior Ministry and Federal Security Service has not provided such data, open sources show that around 30 policemen and Interior Ministry Internal troops have been killed and more than 40 wounded since the start of 2008.

Nezavisimya Gazeta quoted Major General Nikolai Sivak, the commander of the Combined Group of Forces in the North Caucasus, as saying that Chechnya’s rebels have considerably stepped up their activities, particularly bombings. According to Sivak, in September, bomb disposal experts defused six explosive devices and security forces discovered and destroyed 12 rebel bases and 11 rebel arms caches.

“As is known, Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov repeatedly said that the bandits in the republic would be finished off once and for all by the end of 2007,” Nezavisimaya Gazeta wrote. “But in 2008, an outflow of Chechen youth into the [rebel] bands is occurring, and the militants themselves, having received resources and financial replenishment from abroad, are planning new terrorist acts and murders in the republic.”