In an interview published February 9 in the bi-weekly Novaya Gazeta, Ingushetia’s President Yunus-Bek Yevkurov accused U.S. and British intelligence of attempting to “destroy Russia” by sending terrorists to “Russia’s south.” In another interview published on February 9, with the weekly magazine Kommersant-Vlast, Yevkurov charged that the United States wants to “undermine the Caucasus” and claimed that former U.S. President George W. Bush had said the Caucasus are “a zone of U.S. interests” and that “Nazran is the center of the zone.”
Three days earlier, during a meeting with representatives of local law-enforcement and security agencies in Magas, Yevkurov said that the republic’s security agencies were searching for two young men and a woman who, he said, had arrived in Ingushetia to carry out suicide bombings.
“Terrorists have no ethnic background, and therefore I am not saying who they are,” Interfax quoted Yevkurov as saying during the February 6 meeting. “Those who guide them are also people without kith or kin, who are hiding behind some radio call-names. But there is one more thing: These people have found shelter in our homes. They are living somewhere with our relatives, who don’t understand that, by giving refuge to such people, they may be harmed themselves and harm others.”
Interfax reported on February 9 that law-enforcement personnel had discovered and defused two homemade bombs 200 meters from a gas station in the town of Malgobek. Law-enforcement sources told the news agency that the devices consisted of two 12-liter metal buckets filled with a mixture of ammonium nitrate and aluminum powder with pieces of metal bars and electronic detonators.
Itar-Tass reported on February 8 that traffic police came under fire as they tried to stop a suspicious car on the Kavkaz federal highway in Nazran and that one of the officers was wounded. The traffic police returned fire, but the attackers fled, abandoning their car and seizing that of a local resident.