Ingushetia’s Militants Reportedly Target Rights Abusers, Police Informers

Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 9 Issue: 26

Interfax reported on July 2 that unidentified attackers in Nazran, Ingushetia, fired grenade launchers and automatic rifles at the home of an officer with the criminal investigation department of Nazran’s main internal affairs directorate (GUVD) on the evening July 1. No one was hurt in the attack and the home was only slightly damaged. On July 1, two policemen were killed and five wounded in the Ingushetian town of Malgobek when their vehicles came under fire. A local police source told RIA Novosti that according to eyewitness testimony and a preliminary investigation, a group of unidentified assailants driving a Lada sedan opened fire on a police patrol vehicle, killing two law-enforcement officers and wounding three, and several minutes later attacked another police car. “Two police officers were wounded in the second attack,” the source said. on July 1 quoted Ingushetia’s chief prosecutor, Yury Turygin, as saying that during the first five months of 2008, 53 attempts were made on the lives of law-enforcement officers and servicemen in the republic—a nearly four-fold increase over the same period last year. These attacks resulted in the deaths of 17 people, including 12 law-enforcement officers, four servicemen and one civilian, while 60 other people were wounded in the attacks, including 46 law-enforcement officers, 11 servicemen and three civilians. Turygin said that the republic’s security structures, with much hard work, had managed to get on the trail of the criminal groups responsible for these attacks, destroying 25 members of “illegal armed formations” and seizing a large quantity of weapons in the first five months of this year.

The opposition website on July 1 published an interview with an anonymous high-ranking official with Ingushetia’s Interior Ministry, who said that “practically all the employees of the police killed, wounded or suffering in other ways from armed attacks during the past two years were somehow or another implicated in extrajudicial killings, torture, kidnappings of inhabitants of the republic, the persecution of religious youth, the breaking up of demonstrations and other protest actions.” The official said that others at risk for attack are “stool pigeons” for the law-enforcement organs and people who actively cooperate with Ingushetia’s president, Murat Zyazikov, along with members of Zyazikov’s inner circle. The source also said that “some civilians who have secretly cooperated with the police or who are in Zyazikov’s inner circle have been killed or wounded lately.” He added that “many police are already refusing to carry out unlawful orders and instructions given by Ruslanbek Zyazikov, the head of the bodyguards of the Republic of Ingushetia’s president, or [by] the Interior Minister of the Republic of Ingushetia Musa Medov, who are implicated in the deaths or disappearance without a trace of hundreds of inhabitants of Ingushetia.”

Three militants were killed in a special operation against a group of militants in Dagestan’s capital Makhachkala on June 27. Itar-Tass reported that the militants were holed up in an apartment on the fourth floor of a Makhachkala apartment building. The head of the Dagestani Interior Ministry’s press service, Mark Tolchinsky identified the three slain militants as Rashid Gazilaliev; his wife Sevda Abdulayeva, a resident of the Dagestani city of Kizlyar; and a young man identified only as Shamil. “According to witnesses living in the apartment building, when the blockaded gunmen were offered the choice of surrendering, the woman together with the men opened fire on the law enforcers,” Tolchinsky told Itar-Tass.

The columnist Yulia Latynina wrote in the Moscow Times on July 2 that Rashid Gazilaliev was a professor of German at the Dagestan Pedagogical University and that neither he nor his wife and their house guest were on the police wanted list. Latynina reported that because his wife Sevda Abdulayeva wore a headscarf, “her husband was placed on the blacklist of the most-wanted Islamic extremists.” In such cases, “the police coerce the neighbors to inform on whomever they have on their list,” Latynina added. “After a suspicious guest arrived at Gazilaliev’s home, the neighbors dutifully notified the police. When they arrived at the scene, Gazilaliev refused to open the door without a lawyer present. Then, the enraged police stormed his apartment.”

Meanwhile, Interfax, quoting police sources in Kabardino-Balkaria, reported on July 1 that one militant died in a shootout between a group of gunmen and police in Nalchik, the republic’s capital.