Chechen Security Sources Predict New Attacks in Republic

Publication: Eurasia Daily Monitor Volume: 6 Issue: 167

There has been a fresh wave of insurgent attacks and shootouts between rebels and security forces across the North Caucasus as the security situation in the region remains highly problematic.

A bomb went off on a railroad bed in Dagestan today. No one was hurt in the incident and the Rostov-Baku railroad remained open (RIA Dagestan, September 14). On September 13, a bomb went off as a bus carrying police was driving by in Dagestan’s capital Makhachkala. A police spokesman said that the explosive device had probably been planted in a garbage can on the side of the road, but that no one was hurt in the incident (RIA Novosti, September 13).

Three suspected rebels were killed on September 13 during a shootout in Dagestan’s Derbentsky district that broke out after police stopped their car for a document check. A Dagestani interior ministry source identified two of those killed as Artur Gashimov and Artur Azrakaliev, who, the source said, were members of a group headed by a rebel leader, Zakir Navruzov, who was reportedly killed in April (RBK, September 14).

On September 12, police killed four suspected rebels in a shootout at a home on the outskirts of Makhachkala. An official with the Federal Security Service (FSB) branch in Dagestan identified one of the four slain militants as Bagautdin Kamalutdinov, a nephew of "the ideological leader" of radical Islamists in the republic, Bagautdin Magomedov, aka Kebedov. According to the FSB official, the wife of one of the militants, who also put up "armed resistance," was among the four killed. The source said the four militants were involved in the September 11 murder of the head of the office of the Dagestani prosecutor’s department in charge of supervising the penal system, Maksud Maksudov (Interfax, September 12; EDM, September 11).

On September 11, Dagestani security forces detained a woman, Sakinat Saidova, suspected of planning to carry out a suicide bombing in a public place in Makhachkala. The republic’s FSB said she had been married three times to members of "illegal armed formations," her last husband having been the so-called "emir of Dagestan" Ilgar Malahiev, aka Abdumazhid, who was killed during a special operation at the end of 2008. In addition, she had three brothers in the rebels’ ranks, two of whom were killed during special operations (www.kavkaz-uzel.ru, September 12). Saidova was shown on state television confessing to having planned to carry out a suicide bombing (http://www.vesti.ru/videos?sort=1&sub_sort=0&cid=1&p=6).

In Chechnya, two policemen were shot to death on September 13 by unidentified attackers in the town of Argun (Interfax, September 13). On September 12, three policemen were wounded when a female suicide bomber detonated an explosive device near a police post several meters from a school in central Grozny. Chechen Interior Minister Ruslan Alkhanov subsequently denied initial reports that schoolchildren had been hurt in the blast, saying that the three policemen, who had managed to prevent a terrorist act, were the only casualties (ITAR-TASS, www.newsru.com, September 12).

According to the head of the press service of Chechnya’s Interior Ministry, Magomed Deniev, a suspected rebel wanted for infringing on the lives of policemen was killed by police in the village of Rubezhnoe in the republic’s Naursk district on September 12 (www.kavkaz-uzel.ru, September 13).

On September 14, Kavkazsky Uzel quoted an anonymous source in Chechnya’s "power structures" as saying that behind the series of attacks carried out in Chechnya since May stood Alexander Tikhomirov, the native of the Russian republic of Buryatia who is the rebel leader and Islamist ideologist/preacher also called Sheikh Said Buryatsky and Said Abu Saad, along with the rebel field commander Muslim Gakaev. The source said the attacks were approved by rebel Dokka Umarov, the "emir" of the "North Caucasus Emirate." According to the source, the recent attacks in Chechnya and neighboring republics, including the use of suicide bombers, were aimed not only at destabilizing the region but also disrupting counter-insurgency operations -which, the source said, have severely pressured the rebels and created "panic" in their ranks. Kavkazsky Uzel reported that representatives of Chechen "power structures" believe fresh terrorist attacks are likely in Chechnya in the coming weeks (www.kavkaz-uzel.ru, September 14).

In Ingushetia, an investigator with the investigative department of the republic’s Interior Ministry, Azamat Bersanov, was shot to death on September 12 by unidentified attackers at the entrance of his home in Nazran (Interfax, September 12).

On September 11, a suicide bomber in a vehicle detonated explosives at a traffic police post on the Kavkaz federal highway in Nazran. A spokesman for Ingush President Yunus-Bek Yevkurov, Kaloi Akhilgov, told the Associated Press that a van packed with explosive material drove into the traffic checkpoint, which was completely destroyed. While initial reports put the number of wounded in the blast at five, subsequent reports put the number of wounded at nine, with one local resident dying in the hospital from injuries sustained in the bombing (AP, September 11; ITAR-TASS, September 12).