A suspected rebel in Chechnya yesterday (October 27) detonated a grenade, killing himself and a policeman, in one of several violent incidents involving insurgents and security forces in the North Caucasus over the last several days.
Chechen Interior Minister Ruslan Alkhanov said that the incident took place yesterday evening in the capital Grozny after police received information that a militant had been spotted at a square in the city’s Leninsky district, and that the suspect opened fire on police as they tried to apprehend him. He was seriously wounded by return fire from police, but when they closed in on him, he detonated a grenade, killing himself and one of the policemen, while wounding another policeman. RIA Novosti reported that the incident took place on Journalist Square in the center of the capital, where many people gather in the evening for coffee, tea and ice-cream. The militant was identified as Ibragim Kasumov, 24, a Grozny resident. Alkhanov said that no civilians were injured during the incident (RIA Novosti, www.kavkaz-uzel.ru, October 27).
A similar incident occurred on October 21, when a suicide bomber injured four policemen and a passerby in Grozny’s Oktyabrsky district. The Kavkazsky Uzel website reported that the October 21 incident was the ninth suicide bombing in Chechnya since the federal authorities announced an end to anti-terrorist operations in the republic last April (EDM, October 22).
On October 26, two policemen were killed in Chechnya when police stopped a bus to check the passengers’ identification documents and two of the passengers opened fire. The incident took place on the Kizlyar-Mozdok highway near the village of Nikolaevskaya in Chechnya’s Naursk district (Interfax, October 26).
Kavkazsky Uzel yesterday (October 27) quoted a Chechen interior ministry source as saying that security forces had killed one of the two people who had killed the two policemen on the Kizlyar-Mozdok highway on October 26. The source identified the slain alleged perpetrator as Magomed Butsaev, a 25 year old resident of the village of Novoterskoe aka Ryzhy Mokhmad (Red-headed Mokhmad), who was a wanted member of the “illegal armed formations” and allegedly was involved in an attack that killed five law-enforcement officers in the village of Alkhzurovo in Chechnya’s Urus-Martan district in March 2008 (www.kavkaz-uzel.ru, October 27). Interfax reported that a sports bag containing two Kalashnikov rifles, ammunition, a radio, a map and “Wahhabi leaflets” was found on the bus on which the killers of the two policemen were traveling (Interfax, October 27).
Security sources also told Kavkazsky Uzel that another militant was killed in a shootout with police on October 26 during a security sweep of a wooded area near the village of Makhkety in Chechnya’s southern Vedeno district (www.kavkaz-uzel.ru, October 27).
Unidentified gunmen shot and killed a police major in Dagestan on October 27. The incident took place in the village of Kuzleb in Dagestan’s Kizlyar district. The major, a senior district police inspector identified as Abdurakhman Magomoedov, was shot with automatic weapons as he walked out of his house (Interfax, October 27).
On October 26, two separate bombings were reported in the village of Gubden in Dagestan’s Karabudakhkentsky district. The first blast, estimated as having the force of 300 grams of TNT, took place early in the morning near a banquet hall. No one was hurt in the explosion. The second bombing took place five hours later at the site of an abandoned police checkpoint on the Manas-Sergokala road on the outskirts of the village. That blast, which had the power of 200 grams of TNT, injured a local resident, who was hospitalized (www.kavkaz-uzel.ru, October 27).
On October 25, an explosive device detonated in the Kirovsky district of Makhachkala, Dagestan’s capital, as a police bus was passing. One policeman was injured in the incident. Several hours later, a landmine blew up on a railroad track in the Kirovsky district of Makhachkala, Dagestan’s capital, as a locomotive was moving passed. According to Dagestan’s interior ministry, none of the locomotive’s crew was hurt, but the explosion badly damaged the railway (www.kavkaz-uzel.ru, Interfax, October 25).
In Ingushetia, unidentified attackers threw a hand grenade into the courtyard of the home of OMON special task police officer in the city of Nazran on October 25. According to the republican interior ministry, no one was hurt in the blast, but the home was seriously damaged. The incident took place the same day that Ingush opposition leader and businessman Maksharip Aushev was murdered in neighboring Kabardino-Balkaria (EDM, October 26).
Also on October 25, security personnel in Kabardino-Balkaria discovered a rebel dugout in a forest near the village of Kremenchug-Konstantinovskoe in the republic’s Baksansky district. Various explosives and weaponry were found in the dugout –including two improvised explosive devices consisting of ammonium nitrate and aluminum powder and equal in explosive power to six kilograms of TNT, and four grenades for a grenade launcher– along with instruction for various weapons and what was described as “religious literature” (Interfax, October 25).
On October 23, Chechen law enforcement officials claimed they foiled an attempt on the lives of Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov and Adam Delimkhanov, the State Duma deputy and Kadyrov’s handpicked successor. According to Deputy Chechen Interior Minister Roma Edilov, the incident occurred as Delimkhanov was awaiting the arrival of Kadyrov at a memorial complex in Grozny and a car approached at high speed just moments before Kadyrov was due to arrive. The driver ignored warning shots by security forces and was shot and killed. According Edilov, the car was driven by the “emir of Urus-Martan,” Bislan Bashtaev, and was loaded with plastic explosives and the explosive hexogen (www.newsru.com, October 23).
However, the North Caucasus rebels claimed the alleged attempt on the lives of Kadyrov and Delimkhanov had been faked (www.kavkazcenter.com, October 25). Vadim Rechkalov of Moskovsky Komsomolets also cast doubt on the reported abortive assassination attempt, suggesting it may have been a ploy by Kadyrov to get more help from the federal center to fight the rebels (Moskovsky Komosomlets, October 26).