A driver for the head of the criminal investigation unit of the police department in Ingushetia’s Sunzhensky district was wounded when unidentified attackers fired on his car, Itar-Tass reported on November 9. It was the second attack apparently targeting policemen in the district in two days: Itar-Tass reported on November 7 that three policemen were injured in an explosion at the local police department in Troitskaya, also in the Sunzhensky district. The blast occurred when the officers tried to open the police station’s metal gate. All three police officers were hospitalized.
Three militants were killed in a special operation carried out by security forces in the area of the Ingush village of Nesterovskaya on November 4. Lenta.ru reported that a gunfight erupted when the security forces, including members of the central apparatus of the Federal Security Service (FSB), the Ingush FSB and Interior Ministry personnel, attempted to apprehend a group of rebels, three of whom were killed in the fighting. According to the officials, no members of the security forces or the public were hurt in the battle. RIA Novosti on November 6 quoted a source in the Ingush Interior Ministry as saying that the three slain rebels were members of the group headed by Chechen separatist leader Dokku Umarov. “The identities of the militants destroyed in the village of Nesterovskaya in the Sunzhensky district of Ingushetia have been determined,” the source told the news agency. “They are Grozny natives Muslim Arzumkhan, Rustam Magomadov a.k.a. ‘Arbi,’ and Rustam Mezhidov.” Lenta.ru, citing the FSB, reported that before joining Umarov’s group, the three slain militants had fought under the command of the rebel “emir” Isa Kushtov, who was killed by federal forces this past summer. The slain militants were allegedly planning terrorist attacks.
Itar-Tass reported on November 4 that Said-Emin Bichalov, a 42-year-old resident of Chechnya who was an “active member of an illegal armed group,” was detained in Nazran on suspicion of involvement in the March 1997 kidnapping in Grozny of two reporters from a Chelyabinsk regional newspaper, Olga Bagautdinova and Alexander Utrobin.
Meanwhile, the Associated Press reported on November 6 that masked gunmen burst into the home of Elena Goryachenko, a 40-year-old native of Chechnya and a well-known doctor and faith healer in Ingushetia, and fatally shot her. The news agency, citing the southern regional branch of the federal Interior Ministry, reported that Goryachenko was shot in front of her son in her house in the village of Ordzhonikidze. According to the AP, she was the second faith healer killed in Ingushetia in two years, and authorities blamed the murder on radical Muslims, who believe that faith healing is a sin against Islam. Seven faith healers, including three who also served as mainstream Islamic clerics, were killed this year in Karachaevo-Cherkessia, the news agency reported.