Five Rebels Killed in Ingushetia; Opposition Postpones Protest

Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 9 Issue: 23

Security forces in Ingushetia killed five militants during a special operation conducted in the city of Karabulak on June 11. Itar-Tass quoted law-enforcement sources in Ingushetia as saying the militants, who were holed up in a house, were blockaded by security forces, who called on them to surrender. Instead, the militants opened fire, and a battle ensued in which the five rebels were killed. According to the sources, the house in which they were holed up caught fire during the shootout. Itar-Tass quoted a military source as saying that one of the militants was killed when he tried to escape, after which the rest were killed in the battle. The news agency also reported that a woman was among the five dead militants. According to the opposition website, the woman killed in the battle owned the house where the militants were staying and her son was among those killed. on June 11 quoted a law-enforcement source as identifying the slain woman and her son as having the surname Abalakov and saying that they had recently arrived in Karabulak.

A source in Ingushetia’s Interior Ministry told Itar-Tass that the slain militants had been involved in the murder of the head of the chancellery of the anti-organized crime directorate (UBOP) of Ingushetia’s Interior Ministry, Bembulat Bogolov, who was shot to death in Nazran on June 8.

On June 9, a bomb exploded in Nazran near the home of Magomed Khazbiev, the head of the organizing committee for the Ingush national protest. No one was hurt in the blast, but Kavkazky Uzel quoted Khazbiev as saying that the bombing was a terrorist act targeting him and members of his family. Khazbiev told the website that two weeks earlier his car, which had a portrait of Ingushetia’s former president, Ruslan Aushev, on its hood, came under gunfire but that he had not publicized the incident so as not to traumatize his parents. Khazbiev accused Ruslanbek Zyazikov, a relative of Ingushetian President Murat Zyazikov who has been identified as the head of the president’s security detail, of organizing the attack. The opposition website reported that the attackers escaped in a black VAZ-21114 automobile.

The explosion near Khazbiev’s home followed another in Nazran the same day. That blast took place shortly after a police patrol discovered an explosive device that went off as bomb disposal experts were preparing to defuse it. No one was hurt in that explosion, which broke windows in nearby dwellings.

Police had raided Khazbiev’s home on June 6, ostensibly searching for weapons. Khazbiev, for his part, said the search was connected both to the fact that he heads the national protest organizing committee as well as his involvement in the drive to gather signatures on a petition calling for the removal of Murat Zyazikov as Ingushetia’s president and his replacement by Ruslan Aushev

Ingushetia’s opposition decided to postpone the republic-wide protest action that was scheduled to take place on June 6 (Chechnya Weekly, June 5). Kavkazky Uzel reported on June 5 that opposition leaders had decided to wait until the anti-Zyazikov/pro-Aushev petition drive is completed and the petition is forwarded to the Kremlin. It should be noted that the prosecutor’s office in Ingushetia had declared the planned demonstration illegal and called on residents of Ingushetia not to participate in it. reported on June 5 that opposition leaders also noted that the republic’s Supreme Court ordered the release of the remaining opposition members who were incarcerated for participating last January’s protest demonstration in Nazran. According to Kavkazky Uzel, the arrested opposition members had been transferred from a remand prison in Nalchik, Kabardino-Balkaria, to a remand prison in Pyatigorsk. Kavkazky Uzel reported on June 6 that three of the opposition members—Ismail Barakhoev, Salman Gazdiev and Ruslan Khazbiev—were freed from the Pyatigorosk prison following the republican Supreme Court’s decision, but that two others, Maksharip Aushev and Ramzan Kulov, remained in custody because the court had not given their correct dates of birth. Another incarcerated participant in the January protest was freed earlier in June.

Meanwhile, Moscow’s Kuntsevo court on June 6 banned the opposition website on charges that it was extremist. “The Kuntsevo district court ruled to grant the prosecutor’s petition and terminate the functioning of on the worldwide web,” Itar-Tass quoted Judge Lidia Sorokina as saying. Prosecutor Irina Semyonova said she had been able to prove in court that was a mass media outlet disseminating extremist materials and that its activity must therefore be banned. A lawyer for, Musa Pliyev, called the ruling “illegitimate and unjustified” and said the website “will continue functioning.” Pliyev said that only the person who has registered a given media outlet can stop its activity but that “has not been registered as a media outlet.” Magomed Yevloev, who has been identified as the website’s owner, is in fact “an owner of the domain name” but “doesn’t own the site,” Pliyev said. Semyonova, the prosecutor, responded: “It’s difficult to shut down the website, but we believe we’ll be able to stop its work with the help of the Ministry of Communications and the Bailiffs Service.” According to Itar-Tass, lawyers said they will appeal the ruling to a higher court.

Following preliminary hearings, the Kuntsevo court judge suspended, but it continued to be available to Internet users during the main hearings. Earlier, North Ossetian prosecutors demanded that be shut down. Kuntsevo prosecutors instituted criminal proceedings against for violating article 282 of Russia’s Criminal Code, which bans the incitement of national, racial or religious enmity. According to Itar-Tass, the press service of the Moscow prosecutor’s office said that specialists, after examining the content of materials placed on, had concluded that the website bore the hallmarks of crimes covered by article 282.