Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 6 Issue: 36

Memorial has published what Kavkazky Uzel on September 21 described as “shocking details” of a special operation conducted by forces loyal to Ramzan Kadyrov earlier in September in the town of Argun and the settlement of Tsotsin-Yurt. Citing local residents, the human rights group reported that on September 14, a group of kadyrovtsy placed a severed head on a pipe on a footbridge across the Khulkulau River for “general viewing” and intimidation purposes.

According to Memorial, the head belonged to Shamil-Khadzhi Lom-Alievich Muskiev, one of five sons of a family that lived in Tsotsin-Yurt and was later resettled in Argun by federal forces. Two of the sons had died in earlier fighting with federal forces, after which an uncle was taken away by kadyrovtsy and then their father disappeared. Two of the remaining sons, including Shamil-Khadzhi Muskiev, died along with three other rebels in fighting with security forces in Argun on September 14. Three members of the security forces were killed and seven wounded in the battle, during which several homes were burned down. (Kavkazky Uzel had reported on September 15 that five policemen were killed in the Argun battle.) According to eyewitnesses, one of the kadyrovtsy, named Khizir, cut the head from the body of Shamil-Khadzhi Muskiev, whom he accused of having killed his brother and mother.

Meanwhile, Kavkazky Uzel reported on September 24 that there had been a shootout in the town of Shali between local policemen and fighters of the Anti-Terrorist Center, as the Chechen presidential security service, headed by Ramzan Kadyrov, is now called. The website quoted a Chechen Interior Ministry officer as saying that a local policeman was seriously wounded in the shootout, which took place on the evening of September 22. According to the officer, members of the Anti-Terrorist Center severely beat up local policemen in Itum-Kale and Vedeno last month but have not been punished.