Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 6 Issue: 28

A group of some 50 women blocked one of Grozny’s busiest streets on July 17 demanding to know the fate of two men they say were taken away after being held at a temporary detention facility. The protesters told Interfax that unidentified armed men had taken away Khalid Satuev, a student at the Grozny Oil Institute, and Buvadi Dudaev, an employed man. Also on July 17, the body of man who had been shot in the head was found on the outskirts of the village of Chechen-Aul in Chechnya’s Grozny rural district, the Russian-Chechen Friendship Society (ORChD) reported on July 19. The victim was identified as Aslan Zubkhadzhiev, a Chechen-Aul resident. The ORChD reported that three men were kidnapped in Grozny’s Leninsky district by unknown armed people wearing camouflage uniforms.

Citing police sources, Interfax reported on July 14 a resident of the town of Argun and resident of the village of Novoshchedrinskaya had separately been abducted at gunpoint by unknown people. Another went missing after leaving his home in the Gudermes district village of Iliskhan-Yurt.

Meanwhile, a Chechen Interior Ministry spokesman claimed on July 15 that the number of kidnappings in Chechnya has decreased nearly 25 percent this year. Human rights activists, however, dismissed the claim. The spokesman told Agence France-Presse that 82 kidnapping cases were recorded during the first six months of this year, compared with 102 cases during the first half of last year. But Dmitry Grushkin of the Memorial human rights group told AFP that the group has registered 152 kidnappings since the beginning of the year. “Out of these, 58 people have been released, five have been found dead and two are in the process of being released,” he said. “The families of the other 87 who have gone missing without a trace have had no news of them and have not been approached with ransom requests.” Grushkin said that because Memorial monitors kidnappings in only about a third of Chechnya, the real figures are likely much higher.