Dagestani Interior Ministry personnel on November 17 discovered an F-1 hand grenade, a stick of dynamite and 100 rounds of 5.45 mm ammunition in a house in the capital Makhachkala. The ministry said the 32-year-old owner of the house had previously been involved in an illegal weapons possession case. That same day, police in Dagestan’s Khasavyurt district detained a 39-year-old resident of the village of Mutsalaul for storing weapons for rebels and buying food and mobile phones for them. On November 16, police in Dagestan’s Shamilsky district shot and killed a driver who, they said, refused to obey orders to stop his car and opened fire on them. The incident took place in the village of Khebda around 11:30 p.m., local time, when the driver of a Toyota Land Cruiser ignored police orders to stop and drove off at high speed. Police gave chase, after which persons inside the car opened fire and the police fired back. The driver, identified as a resident of the village of Bezhta in Dagestan’s Tsutinsky district, was hit and later died in the hospital. Three passengers in the car, all of them also Bezhta residents, were taken into custody. Police found a Saiga-MK 7.62 mm rifle inside the car (www.kavkaz-uzel.ru, November 17).
On November 14, two alleged members of “illegal armed formations” – meaning rebels – who were surrounded by security forces in an apartment building in the Dagestani city of Kaspiisk were killed in a shootout. Before the shootout, the two sides negotiated to allow six women and children, apparently the wives and children of the alleged insurgents, to leave the building. The negotiations reportedly involved the parents of the alleged rebels. The National Anti-Terrorism Committee later reported that one of the two men killed in Kaspiisk had been identified as Magomed Dzhamaev, who was the leader of the rebel group in Kaspiisk, while the second slain man had been identified as Islam Rashidov, an active member of that rebel group (RIA Dagestan, RIA Novosti, November 14).
An operation in which at least five people were detained took place in the village of Shamkhal in Dagestan’s Kirovsky district on November 13. Police reportedly refused to allow relatives and lawyers of those detained to see them. The website quoted a local resident as saying that some 150 people had held a spontaneous protest against the detentions near the police headquarters in the village, and that there were rumors those detained had been beaten and tortured (www.kavkaz-uzel.ru, November 14).
On November 12, Akhmed Asmanov, an aide to an imam in the village of Matsal-aul in Dagestan’s Khasavyurt district, was shot to death by unidentified attackers. A friend who was with Asmanov at the time of the attack was also shot. He was hospitalized with serious wounds (Interfax, November 14).
In Ingushetia, an improvised explosive device detonated near a house in Nazran on November 15. No one was hurt in the incident, which took place on the western outskirts of the city (www.kavkaz-uzel.ru, November 15).
In Kabardino-Balkaria, unidentified gunmen shot two policemen in the republican capital Nalchik on November 14. One of the policemen, Khasan Kushkov, a 34-year-old with three children, died on the spot. The second policeman, 25-year-old Zudin Zhambikov, died of his wounds later in the hospital. The attack took place on Zhambikov’s first day on the job. The attackers reportedly escaped in a taxi. Investigators found six 9 mm shell casings and five 7.62 mm shell casings at the scene of the shooting (www.kavkaz-uzel.ru, November 14-15).
On November 13, a gunman shot a road patrol policeman in the city of Tyrnyauz in Kabardino-Balkaria. Despite being wounded, the policeman managed to shoot and kill the attacker. On November 11, a businessman, Akhmat Gegraev, was shot and killed in the village of Yanikoi in Kabardino-Balkaria’s Chegem district (www.kavkaz-uzel.ru, November 12-13).
The head of the Investigative Committee’s branch in Kabardino-Balkaria, said yesterday (November 17) that there have been 74 attacks on policemen and servicemen in the republic so far this year. He said that 70 suspected rebels have been killed in Kabardino-Balkaria this year – five times more than last year (www.kavkaz-uzel.ru, November 18).
Russian Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliev said on November 17 that a total of 350 terrorism-related crimes were committed in the North Caucasus Federal District in the first ten months of 2011, including 213 shootings and 137 bomb blasts, and that as many as 313 militants were killed and 399 detained during that period. According to Nurgaliev, more than 50 terrorist attacks were averted during that period. For his part, Deputy Prosecutor General Viktor Grin said that the number of terrorist-related crimes rose in Russia more than 14 percent this year, and that the North Caucasus was of special concern. “The terrorist threat in our country is formed under the influence of external and internal factors, and the bandit underground of the North Caucasus, operating most actively in Dagestan, Ingushetia and the Republic of Kabardino-Balkaria, poses the greatest threat,” Grin said (Interfax, November 17).
Meanwhile, the pro-Russian Chechen poet Ruslan Akhtakhanov was shot to death in Moscow on November 15 – according to investigators, possibly by the same hit man who shot dead Colonel Yury Budanov, the tank commander convicted of war crimes for the murder of Chechen girl during the second Russian military campaign in Chechnya. The Moscow Times reported that Akhtakhanov, known for his pro-Russian views, was captured by Chechen rebels during the first war in 1997, but released for ransom after 47 days in captivity. The newspaper quoted Novaya Gazeta war correspondent Vyacheslav Izmailov as saying Akhtakhanov had promised “to pay back” the rebel leaders involved in his kidnapping, which might have prompted his murder. According to Izmailov, many of those rebel leaders have since been pardoned and work in the Chechen government (The Moscow Times, November 17).
For its part, the website of Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov’s government eulogized Akhtakhanov as a “shining representative of the Chechen intelligentsia” (The New York Times, November 16).