On the night of September 19-20, a close associate of Akhmad Kadyrov, the head of the pro-Moscow police force in Kurchaloi, Salman Abuev, was killed in an ambush as they were travelling by car from Kurchaloi to Alleroi. Six other men in the vehicle, all of them police officers, were also killed. Commenting upon this incident, journalist Il’ya Maksakov wrote: “The entourage of the head of administration of Chechnya… remains, as previously, one of the most undefended and vulnerable parts of Chechen society for actions by the rebels…. The security of people who have the misfortune of agreeing to cooperate with the federal authorities, and thus sign their own death warrants, is not being provided…. The social base of the Russian authorities is growing smaller with each day that the war continues and with each new killing of the active adherents of Moscow” (Nezavisimaya Gazeta, September 21).
Writing in the September 21 issue of Kommersant, another journalist, Ol’ga Allenova, observed: “[Abuev] was one of the few field commanders to have gone over to the side of the federals…. Kadyrov for a long time had stubbornly pushed through the appointment of Abuev, which took place a month ago…. People from the entourage of Akhmad Kadyrov express serious suspicions about this attack. Dzhabrail Yamadaev, for example, is convinced that the bandits were directed either by local [pro-Moscow] police or even by the [Russian] military. ‘Why,’ he asked, ‘were rebels who were armed to the teeth able to get to a defended road? How did the bandits know the time of Salman’s return home, and how were they able to single out his vehicle? After all, he constantly changed vehicles…?'” Officials in the pro-Moscow Chechen administration speculated that “the next in line to be killed is Khalid Yamadaev, for whom Kadyrov obtained the post of deputy military commandant of the republic.”