Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 6 Issue: 36

While the Russian president was talking up Chechnya’s upcoming parliamentary elections, the republic’s low-intensity war continued. Kavkazky Uzel, citing an anonymous source in the Chechen Interior Ministry, reported that seven Russian servicemen and Interior Ministry officers had died and fifteen had been wounded when a rebel unit ambushed them in the Itum-Kale district over the weekend of September 24–25.

A deputy company commander from the Interior Ministry’s Internal Troops was seriously wounded on September 26 when a large roadside bomb made from an artillery shell was detonated as a military convoy was driving through Grozny’s Staropromyslovsky district. That same day, Russian-Chechen Friendship Society (ORChD) reported that a police commander in the Achkoi-Martan district town of Samashki, Aslan Salgeriev, was seriously injured when a bomb hidden in a pile of sand near his house detonated as he was sitting in his car. Two days earlier, an OMON special police unit member had been killed in Samashki by unidentified attackers who fired on his car. On September 25, an Interior Ministry officer from the Republic of Komi was injured in Chechnya’s Groznensky district when the vehicle in which he was traveling hit a mine near the village of Vinogradnoe.

Police sources told Interfax on September 24 that three members of the Vostok special forces battalion were seriously wounded by an improvised explosive device that detonated on the road between the villages of Dargo and Tazen-Kala in the southern Vedeno district. Kavkazky Uzel reported on September 23 that three Vostok battalion members had been wounded the previous day when a homemade bomb detonated on the outskirts of the Vedeno district village of Kharachoi. An undetermined number of rebels had reportedly been killed in a gunfight with Vostok battalion members in the same area several days earlier. A Russian serviceman was wounded on September 22 when a homemade bomb went off on the outskirts of the village of Gekhi-Chu in the Urus-Martan district, while a Shatoi district policeman, Artur Aburdzakov, was found dead in his car in Grozny. He had been shot.

A Chechen law-enforcement source, meanwhile, told RIA Novosti on September 28 that a police officer had been arrested on suspicion of having “rendered services to the illegal armed formations in transporting weapons and ammunition in 2003.” Separately, a Chechen law-enforcement source told the news agency that police had found and defused a 60-kilogram explosive device in a car driven by two unidentified men who shot at police to evade capture and managed to escape. A Chechen Interior Ministry source told the news agency on September 26 that a rebel leader identified as Ibragim Tsagaraev had been apprehended in Grozny’s central market. In addition, a joint operation by the Chechen and Ingushetian interior ministries in Grozny led to the capture of another “active participant in the illegal armed formations,” identified simply as Bataev. Still another suspected rebel fighter was detained on September 24 in the Naursky district village of Chernokozovo. A Chechen Interior Ministry source told the ORChD that the suspect put up armed resistance and was wounded. Two other suspected rebel fighters were captured in the republic, the source said. NTV television reported on September 26 that three rebels were killed in Grozny. According to the channel, one of them, Viskhan Zaitov, was wanted on suspicion of organizing the bombing in the town of Znamenskoe, which killed 14 people, most of them policemen.