The body of an officer of the Dagestani branch of the Federal Penitentiary Service was found in the republic’s capital on March 17. The officer, whose was a captain, was killed with two shots to the head, and two shell casings were found along with his body. Meanwhile, a policeman was killed in a separate shooting in Makhachkala on March 17. The incident occurred around 2:15 a.m., local time, when an unidentified gunman shot the officer as he was sitting behind the wheel of his car. Also on March 17, a bomb went off at a women’s clothing store late in the evening in the city of Buinaksk. The bomb, which was placed near the entrance of the store, caused serious damage to the premises, but no one was hurt in the blast. It was the latest in a series of attacks targeting stores in Dagestan. A food store was blown up in Buinaksk on March 11 and another shop was bombed in the city on March 8. On February 20, a food store was shot up in the village of Novyi Sulak in Dagestan’s Kizilyurt district. One person was wounded in that attack (www.kavkaz-uzel.ru, March 18).
On March 15, three people were killed in a shootout with police in a suburb of Makhachkala. The incident took place when police tried to stop a car for an inspection and those inside opened fire. No one among the police was hurt in the incident. The three slain men had reportedly been involved in an attack on the headquarters of the Kizilyurt district police on March 14, during which seven policemen were injured. That attack took place at 11:15 p.m., local time, when unidentified attackers opened fire on the police station, after which a car blew up outside the building. Earlier this month, on March 7, gunmen attacked a group of policemen in the village of Semender in the suburbs of Makhachkala, wounding four officers (www.kavkaz-uzel.ru, March 15).
In Ingushetia, gunmen shot up the home of the head of Ingushetia’s remand prison, Bashir Gagiev, in the village of Ali-Yurt on March 17. The attackers fired from grenade launchers, but no one was hurt in the attack. Around the same time, residents of Ali-Yurt and the city of Magas, the republic’s capital, reported hearing three loud explosions. It was not clear whether or not the explosions were connected to the grenade attack on Gagiev’s home. Also on March 17, Federal Security Service (FSB) and Interior Ministry personnel in Ingushetia reported that they discovered a rebel base in wooded area in the republic’s Nazran district. The FSB reported that weapons, ammunition and military equipment were found at the base (www.kavkaz-uzel.ru, March 17).
The head of the Kabardino-Balkaria branch of the Russian Investigative Committee, Valery Usov, announced on March 11 that the republic’s law-enforcement agencies are searching for 52 local residents accused of being involved in terrorist and extremist crimes. He said that 10 of the 52 are on the international wanted list while the rest are on the federal wanted list. Usov said that a group operating out of the town of Baksan was responsible for the February 18 attack at a tourist resort near Mount Elbrus, in which three tourists from Moscow were killed and two wounded.
Usov said that so far this year, there have been 29 attempts on the lives of employees of law-enforcement agencies in Kabardino-Balkaria, as a result of which 11 law-enforcement employees have been killed and 15 wounded. He said that 10 “active participants in “illegal armed formations” have been killed since the start of the year. He said that in 2010, 42 employees of law-enforcement agencies and 31 civilians were killed in Kabardino-Balkaria, and that there were 108 attempts on the lives of law-enforcement employees in Kabardino-Balkaria, in which 223 people were injured.
On the issue of how the rebels in the republic are financed, Usov said that “voluntary donations” are made by “businessmen and commercial structures” in Kabardino-Balkaria and that the insurgents receive a “considerable part” of their financing “from within the republic and not from outside.” He said the insurgents’ tactics have become “bolder” and more “thoroughly prepared” since 2010.
Asked about the “Black Hawks,” the self-proclaimed “anti-Wahabbi” vigilante group that has threatened the relatives of alleged rebels, Usov said: “I do not know whether such a structure exists in Kabardino-Balkaria or not. We do not have any information confirming their participation in affairs attributed to them by the media and the Internet” (Interfax, March 11).