Chechenpress reported on December 5 that relatives of Chechen rebel leader had been taken hostage the previous day by “Russian occupiers and their armed accomplices from among the Kadyrovtsy” – an apparent reference to members of Chechen First Prime Minister Ramzan Kadyrov’s presidential security service. The separatist website reported that the hostages were taken to “a den of the national traitors – the village of Khosi-Yurt” and that their fate was unknown.
Also on December 5, Chechen First Deputy Prime Minister Ramzan Kadyrov told local administration, law-enforcement and religious leaders in Chechnya’s Sunzhensk district that he will decisively fight against kidnappings and disappearances, Iask.ru reported. On December 6, Kadyrov’s office stated that law-enforcement officials are not allowed to wear masks even when detaining criminals, Itar-Tass reported. It quoted Kadyrov as saying that any person “about to be arrested by people in masks has the right to shoot to kill, no matter who is involved.”