Gunmen in Ingushetia Target Police, Kill Supreme Court Deputy Chairman

Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 9 Issue: 15, citing the website, reported on April 16 that a “pitched battle” was taking place in the Ingush town of Karabulak. quoted local residents as saying that gunfire, machinegun bursts and explosions could be heard in the area of a base belonging to the Ingush Interior Ministry’s OMON special police unit, at which a mobile unit of the federal Interior Ministry from Moscow is deployed. The websites reported that the base was attacked by assailants armed with guns and grenade-launchers and that several fires broke out in various areas inside the base’s perimeter.

The following day, April 17, RIA Novosti, quoted a local police source as saying that six officers from a special purpose police unit had been injured in a rocket attack on the base and that the rockets had been fired by unidentified attackers from a nearby forest. One of the rockets hit the house of a local resident, the news agency reported. The source said that the police returned fire and that a local resident was subsequently detained on suspicion of involvement in the attack. Kavkazky Uzel on April 17 quoted a Russian military source as saying that among those wounded were the commander of the mobile Interior Ministry unit deployed from Moscow, a police colonel and four policemen deployed from Perm Krai, the Tula and Belgorod oblasts and the Jewish Autonomous Oblast. According to Interfax, the mobile unit commander was gravely injured.

The rebel Islamist Kavkaz-Center website posted a report dated April 16, which stated that the attack on the base was carried out by “mujahideen” using machineguns and grenade launchers. The report gave no further details.

Another incident took place in Karabulak on April 13, when unidentified gunmen shot and killed Khasan Yandiev, deputy chairman of Ingushetia’s Supreme Court. “The Moscow Times” on April 14 quoted a law-enforcement official as telling RIA Novosti that Yandiev was driving his Mercedes through Karabulak when the assailants fired automatic weapons at his vehicle. The official said the gunmen fled immediately and that Yandiev died at the scene from multiple gunshot wounds. RIA Novosti’s source said that Yandiev had presided over a number of high-profile trials of local rebels and officials charged with corruption and that investigators believe he was murdered because of his work. An item posted to the rebel Islamist Kavkaz-Center website on April 13 called Yandiev a “murtad” (apostate) who had handed down “punitive” sentences against captured “mujahideen” and ordinary citizens in Ingushetia. The posting, however, did not include a claim of responsibility for the assassination.

A policeman was killed and three local residents were wounded late on April 11 when an unidentified attacker opened fire on a car in the Ingush village of Sagopshi. The policeman died at the scene of the attack and other man in the car and two persons nearby were hospitalized with wounds, Itar-Tass quoted a source in Ingushetia’s Interior Ministry as saying. Kavkazky Uzel, citing the independent website, identified the dead police officer as Islam Dzagiev and reported that the three people wounded in the attack were also police officers. According to Kavkazky Uzel, 5.45 mm and 7.62 mm shell casings were found at the scene of the crime along with shell casings from a Makarov PM pistol.