Insurgency-related violence was reported across the North Caucasus this past week. On April 14, three suspected militants were detained in Kabardino-Balkaria after police stopped a car in which four people were traveling along the Kavkaz federal highway between the villages of Chegem and Shalushka. The three detained men, inhabitants of Kabardino-Balkaria’s Baksan district, were on the federal wanted list for alleged involvement in attacks on law-enforcement personnel as well as terrorist activities. Police said that an improvised explosive made from sticks of dynamite was found in the car along with ammunition. Also on April 14, a suspected militant was killed in the city of Baksan after he allegedly opened fire on police. The incident took place in a dacha area on the outskirts of the city and police said the slain man, a 27-year-old inhabitant of Nalchik, Kabardino-Balkaria’s capital, was found with a Kalashnikov automatic rifle and grenade (www.kavkaz-uzel.ru, April 14 and 15).
On April 13, another alleged member of Kabardino-Balkaria’s “illegal armed formations” was killed while resisting arrest in Nalchik. The incident took place when police stopped an Audi driven by Amir Kasimov, who opened fire and was killed by return fire. A representative of Kabardino-Balkaria’s Investigative Committee said an improvised explosive device (IED) was found in the Audi and that the IED was destroyed in a controlled explosion (www.kavkaz-uzel.ru, April 13).
On April 11, a group of people in masks set fire to a grocery store in the village of Khasanya in the suburbs of Nalchik. No one was hurt in the incident. As the Kavkasky Uzel website noted, it was just the latest in a series of arson attacks in Kabardino-Balkaria apparently targeting stores that sell alcohol (www.kavkaz-uzel.ru, April 11).
In Dagestan today (April 15), police detained a man who late yesterday (April 14) threw a hand grenade into the home of a woman in the town of Dagestanskiye Ogni, slightly injuring her. The blast also broke windows in the home (www.kavkaz-uzel.ru, April 15).
On April 12, three policemen were reportedly killed and three wounded when militants ambushed a column of police vehicles in Dagestan’s Tsumadinsky district. The incident involved a group of policemen who were returning from a special operation that took place on April 11 in neighboring Tsudinsky district, during which five policemen and three militants were killed in a shootout (www.kavkaz-uzel.ru, April 12). One of the three militants killed in the Tsudinsky district operation was identified as Suleiman Magomedov, a local rebel leader wanted for a series terrorism-related crimes and attacks on law-enforcement personnel (www.kavkaz-uzel.ru, April 11).
Also on April 11, a woman who reportedly practiced non-traditional medicine was killed in the Dagestani city of Kaspiisk. The unidentified attackers broke into the victim’s apartment and shot her (www.kavkaz-uzel.ru, April 12). It was just the latest in a series of attacks on practitioners of non-traditional medicine and fortune tellers in Dagestan.
In a separate incident in Dagestan on April 11, a policeman was wounded in Dagestan’s Derbent district when he attempted to arrest two suspects in a murder and other serious crimes. One of the suspects was captured while the other escaped (www.kavkaz-uzel.ru, April 11).
On April 10, a man was killed in an explosion in the Dagestani town of Kizlyar. Police believe the man, a resident of the Tsuntinsky district identified as Abdulkadyr Aliev, had been planning to carry out a suicide bombing attack (www.kavkaz-uzel.ru, April 11).
On April 9, the imam of a mosque in the village of Yasnaya in Dagestan’s Kizlyar district, Magomed Saipulaev, was killed when two attackers fired automatic weapons at him through the windows of his home. A source in Russia’s National Anti-Terrorist Committee was quoted as saying that Saipulaev had been known for his outspoken criticism of the republic’s armed Islamist underground and that he had received numerous death threats (www.kavkaz-uzel.ru, April 9).
Russian media reported today (April 15) that two members of the group headed by Doku Umarov, the Chechen rebel leader and “emir” of the Caucasus Emirate, were killed and three wounded near the village of Muzhichi during a special operation in Ingushetia’s Sunzha district (www.newsru.com, April 15). However, Kavkazsky Uzel yesterday (April 14) quoted a source in Ingushetia’s special services as saying that a group of five militants who had been blockaded in the Sunzha district on April 11 had managed to break out of the encirclement and escape. Unidentified officials had been quoted as saying that Umarov may have been among the five blockaded militants. One militant was reportedly killed and one wounded during the operation (www.kavkaz-uzel.ru, April 14).
Meanwhile, the Lifenews website reported today (April 15) that DNA analysis of body fragments of the 17 militants killed in a March 28 operation targeting rebels in the village of Verkhny Alkun in Ingushetia found that Doku Umarov was not among them (https://news.life.ru/news/56015). On April 13, Anatoly Safonov, the Russian president’s special representative for international cooperation in the fight against terrorism and organized crime, said that Umarov is “probably alive (RIA Novosti, April 13).