Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 4 Issue: 34

The September 15 suicide-bombing of the FSB headquarters in Magas, the capital of Ingushetia, produced heavier casualties outside the building than within it, apparently because the car-bomb exploded before the car could burst into the building itself. In addition to the three dead, more than thirty people were wounded, according to a September 18 report in Novaya gazeta.

However, a correspondent for Prague Watchdog questioned those figures. In an article published by the Czech-based information service on September 18, Ruslan Isaev said that local sources had suggested the death toll was probably higher. One relative of two injured FSB employees said that three people died in the hospital just while he was visiting.

A local human rights activist, ethnic Chechen Murad Nashkhoev, told Isaev that “the Magas explosion will result in serious consequences, not only for Ingush security officials, but for Chechen refugees as well. A search for the organizers of the blast will be launched and I’m certain it will bring suffering to the refugees. I anticipate thorough checks will be carried out in the camps, after which a large number of people will be forced to leave Ingushetia and return to Chechnya. To Russian leaders, dismantling the tent camps is tantamount to eliminating Basaev.”

It would seem that such a crackdown has indeed now begun, according to a September 18 article from Russia’s “Prima” news agency. The agency reported that Ingush officials mounted an operation in the Bela refugee camp on September 17, ostensibly to check passports but in fact to confiscate refugee registration cards as well. There were also attempts to cut the camp’s natural gas, the flow of which was resumed only after intervention from the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees.