Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 6 Issue: 18

Gen.-Major Ilya Shabalkin, spokesman for the Russian military operation in the North Caucasus, announced on May 8 that Russian security personnel had detained a Chechen woman in the town of Urus-Martan alleged to be a trainer for suicide bombers, along with another militant in Grozny who was suspected of blowing up vehicles in recent years, the Associated Press reported. Shabalkin had announced on May 5 the seizure near Grozny of a truck whose frame and chassis was outfitted with 1,200 kilograms of explosives and was allegedly to be used in an attack planned by Shamil Basaev, Doku Umarov and Abdul-Khalim Sadulaev. Kavkazky Uzel reported on May 6 that two women in the village of Sernovodsk, who had allegedly been tasked with blowing up the rigged truck in a suicide attack in Grozny, were killed when they were approached by Interior Ministry personnel and one of them detonated a suicide bomber’s belt. Two militants who were with the women opened fire on the Interior Ministry officers and died in the subsequent gun battle, as did one Interior Ministry officer. Two other law-enforcement officers were severely wounded in the shootout. A third suspected female suicide bomber was killed by security forces in Grozny on May 6. According to Itar-Tass, Interior Ministry officers, operating on a tip, discovered the woman, who was wearing a suicide bomber’s belt that was “ready to be used,” in a house in Grozny’s Staropromyslovsky district.

The Moscow Times on May 6 quoted the FSB as saying in a statement that a specially equipped cache containing a cyanide-based substance imported into Russia from abroad had been found during fighting between federal and rebel forces along the Chechen-Ingush border. According to the FSB, militants planned to use the device in attacks employing poisons and toxic substances in the capitals of the North Caucasus region and cities elsewhere in Russia. A radical Islamic group operating in Ingushetia, the Amanat (Silence) Jamaat, was to carry out the chemical attack, which, the FSB statement claimed, was organized mainly by Abu Makhahid, a Jordanian who allegedly arrived in Chechnya in 1992 and was an al-Qaeda emissary. The FSB identified the leader of the Amanat Jamaat as Alash Daudov, a former police official who was allegedly involved in the 2002 hostage seizure at Moscow’s Dubrovka Theater, attacks on police in Grozny and Nazran and last September’s Beslan school hostage seizure.