Newsru.com reported on September 11 that unidentified attackers had fired grenade launchers and machine guns at Ingush President Murat Zyazikov’s home in the Nazran municipal district village of Barsuki the previous evening. A home located nearby belonging to relatives of Zyazikov was also reportedly targeted. According to Ingushetiya.ru, there was no information on whether there were any casualties from the attack, which lasted around 20 minutes. Ingushetia’s Interior Ministry, meanwhile, denied that such an attack took place, Interfax reported.
The reported attack on the homes of Ingushetia’s president and his relatives in Barsuki followed the September 10 murder in Nazran of Bekkhan Zyazikov, the Ingush president’s cousin. Bekkhan Zyazikov, who was in charge of Ingushetia’s regional bus system, was shot in his car as he was driving home from work. Ingushetiya.ru reported that two other unidentified people were killed along with him. The website noted that September 10 was also Murat Zyazikov’s 51st birthday.
Immediately after the murder of Bekkhan Zyazikov, the dean of Ingueshtia’s Law and Economics Institute, Sulambek Khalukhaev, was shot and seriously wounded in Nazran. According to police, unidentified gunmen armed with automatic rifles shot Khalukhaev in the head as he got into his car.
As Newsru.com noted, the murder of Bekkhan Zyazikov followed the death of Magomed Yevloev, the lawyer and owner of the Ingushetiya.ru website, by less than two weeks. Police claimed Yevloev died in police custody after trying to grab an officer’s gun, but friends and relatives of Yevloev insist he was deliberately killed by police acting on the orders of President Zyazikov and Ingush Interior Ministry Musa Medov. Some allies of Yevloev claim Medov personally shot him to death. Relatives of Yevloev, including his father, have declared a blood feud with both Zyazikov and Medov (North Caucasus Weekly, September 5).
Members of Ingushetia’s opposition have categorically denied that Bekkhan Zyazikov’s murder was connected to Yevloev’s killing. “The death of Magomed Yevloev is in no way connected to that act, and the opposition has no connection to it,” Newsru.com quoted a leader of Ingushetia’s opposition, Maksharip Aushev, as saying. However, Lyudmila Alekseyeva, head of the Moscow Helsinki Group, disagreed. “The murder of [Bekkhan] Zyazikov and the recent death of the owner of the Ingushetiya.ru website Magomed Yevloev are connected, [and] this is cause for great concern,” Alekseyeva said, adding that she condemned the murder of Bekkhan Zyazikov. “Murder is not a way to settle scores in the 21st century,” she said.
Interfax on September 11 quoted Ingushetia’s prosecutor, Yury Turygin, as saying that several attacks which had taken place in the republic, including the murder of Bekkhan Zyazikov, were a response from the republic’s rebels to an operation in which police reportedly killed a number of their comrades. Six suspected militants were reportedly killed in a shootout with police in Ingushetia on September 7. Interfax, quoting a law-enforcement source, reported that the shootout took place after police stopped the six men as they traveled in two cars through a village outside Nazran. The source said that all six gunmen died and at least two policemen were injured in the incident. According to RIA Novosti, the six militants opened fire from two Russian-made Zhiguli cars on police officers who were conducting a sweep of an area where a suspected militants’ hideout had been earlier located. “All suspected militants have been eliminated in the exchange of fire,” the news agency quoted a local police source as saying. The source did not confirm or deny reports that two police officers were wounded in the battle. RIA Novosti reported that a search of the suspects’ vehicles had found a large quantity of weapons, ammunition and explosives.
A number of other attacks aimed at high-level officials and others in Ingushetia occurred over the last week. On September 11, a bomb blew up a car belonging to Khusein Shadiev, the imam of a local mosque in the town of Malgobek. Interfax reported that Shadiev was seriously wounded in the blast and several passers-by were also injured. On September 9, unidentified gunmen in Nazran shot and seriously wounded the head of the local branch of Russia’s Pension Fund, Musa Balkoev. A source in Ingushetia’s Interior Ministry told Itar-Tass that the shooting took place outside Balkoev’s home and that the attackers shot from a VAZ-2107 automobile.
Itar-Tass reported on September 9 that an unidentified attacker fired on a house in the village of Ordzhonikidzevskaya belonging to Akhmetkhan Kukurkhaev, investigator of high-priority cases in the Investigations Department of the Russian Prosecutor’s Office for Ingushetia. No one was hurt in the incident and the attacker escaped. On September 7, two members of a group of electric power linemen were shot by unidentified gunmen while working on a high-voltage power line in Ingushetia, Kavkazky Uzel reported. The victims’ wounds were not life-threatening. On September 6, unidentified attackers fired on a house in Nazran belonging to Tamara Khautieva, vice speaker of Ingushetia’s parliament, Itar-Tass reported. No one was hurt in the incident and the house sustained minor damage.
Also on September 6, an unidentified gunman reportedly armed with a sniper rifle fired on members of a field engineer group who were inspecting the Kavkaz highway and areas adjacent to it near the village of Barsuki. One serviceman was wounded in the attack and hospitalized, Itar-Tass reported.