Ingush Reportedly Abducted in Moscow

Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 9 Issue: 35 reported on September 18 that Ingush living outside the republic are also feeling threatened. According to the website, ten natives of Ingushetia living in Moscow have disappeared with out a trace since the beginning of September. Interfax reported on September 17 that a police patrol in Serebryany Bor, a dacha area in northwest Moscow, had discovered Magomed Khamkhoev, a 35-year-old ethnic Ingush resident of the Russian capital, in handcuffs and wearing only underwear and a T-shirt.

Kommersant on September 18 quoted Khamkhoev as saying that he had been abducted by unknown persons and held in the basement of a cottage in Serebryany Bor, where he was beaten and tortured. He said that his captors made no demands of him, but spoke Ossetian to one another and, as he understood it, had some sort of links with the Russian special services. Khamkhoev said that during his incarceration, his captors showed him the body of an unidentified dead man that bore signs of torture and told him: “You will be same. That’s what you get for Beslan.”

Ethnic Ingush were involved in the September 2004 taking of hostages at a school in Beslan, North Ossetia. More than 330 of the hostages—more than half of them children—died after Russian commandos stormed the school building.

On September 17, while his captors were out of the house, Khamkhoev managed to break a window and escape. After police found Khamkhoev, they raided the cottage and searched the premises. Kommersant reported on September 18 that police found a cell for holding hostages and electro-shock devices to use for torture. The newspaper also reported that after Khamkhoev’s escape, Ingush opposition leader Magomed Khazbiev and the relatives of other Ingush who have disappeared in Moscow this month went to the site of the alleged secret prison. According to Kommersant, Bilan Khamchiev, a State Duma deputy from Ingushetia, has taken control of the investigation into Magomed Khamkhoev’s abduction and is connecting it to the disappearance of ten Ingush in the Russian capital since the start of September.

On September 19, Kommersant provided additional details about the search of the cottage. According to the newspaper, investigators found stripped electric cables which, the newspaper noted, could be used for torture, as well as a metal “cage.” According to relatives of Khamkhoev, who were allowed to observe the search of the cottage, the investigators inquired with the security detail for the dacha area to find out who owned the cottage, soon after which someone arrived at the scene identifying himself as Lieutenant Colonel Mikhail Nikolaevich Ananev, who described the cottage as a “special facility” belonging to a military unit but did not say what it was used for. He did claim that the metal cage found inside was used for keeping dogs. The investigators, however, found no evidence that dogs had been kept there. According to Kommersant, the press services of the Moscow Military District and the Defense Ministry were unable to answer whether Lieutenant Colonel Ananev is indeed an active duty military officer or provide any information about the “special installation” in Serebryany Bor where Magomed Khamkhoev – and possibly other abductees – was held., meanwhile, reported on September 18 that the abduction of Ingush in Moscow is connected to the Ossetian-Ingush conflict over the Prigorodny district in North Ossetia, from which Ingush were expelled en masse in the early 1990s. According to the opposition website, all ten of the young Ingush who were kidnapped in Moscow this month were acquainted with Alikhan Kalimatov, a Federal Security Service (FSB) lieutenant colonel who had investigated the kidnappings and murders of Ingush in the Prigorodny district and was himself murdered a year ago. Kalimatov had reportedly collected evidence showing that the kidnappings and murders in the Prigorodny district were sanctioned by top North Ossetian officials and that the kidnappers of the Ingush in Moscow may have been trying to extract information about Kalimatov’s findings.

According to Kommersant, Kalimatov and his team found that 21 people—19 Ingush and two Chechens—were kidnapped in the Prigorodny district between the summer of 2005 and July 2007. The newspaper reported that Kalimatov said revenge for Beslan could have been the motive for the kidnappings but that his investigation had yielded no “concrete results.” Kalimatov was shot to death in Ingushetia in September 2007 (Chechnya Weekly, September 20, 2007). His death was blamed on militants, Kommersant reported.

Meanwhile, Ella Kesaeva, leader of the Voice of Beslan group, told Ekho Moskvy radio that the abduction and incarceration of Ingush in Moscow in revenge for the Beslan tragedy was a “provocation by the special services” aimed at “setting two peoples against one another.”