Memorial: More Kidnappings in Chechnya, More Killings in Ingushetia

Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 10 Issue: 17

According to research by the Memorial human rights group, the number of kidnappings in Chechnya and people killed in violence in Ingushetia increased between January-April of this year, compared to the same period in 2008.

Kavkazky Uzel reported on April 27 that, according to Memorial, 34 people were kidnapped in Chechnya during January-April of this year, and that 20 of them were residents of the village of Dargo in the republic’s Vedeno district. Of the 34 people abducted, 27 were subsequently released, two were found murdered, two disappeared without a trace, and three were later discovered to be in prison and under investigation by the authorities. According to Memorial, seven people were abducted in Chechnya during January-April 2008 while 42 were abducted during all of 2008. Memorial concluded that the circumstances surrounding these abductions indicate that they were carried out by representatives of “state power agencies.”

At the same time, the number of murders of civilians in Chechnya appears to have dropped during January-April of this year. Memorial found that two civilians were killed in the republic, compared with the five people that were killed in Chechnya during the same period of last year.

Kavkazky Uzel reported that according to information from open sources, some 88 special operations and shootouts took place in Chechnya during January-March of this year, along with three terrorist attacks, taking the lives of at least four law-enforcement officers, seven suspected militants and five civilians, and wounding at least 12 law-enforcement officers and three civilians. According to the website, there were 29 abductions in Chechnya, including five cases in which civilians were kidnapped and later found dead, between January-March of this year. At least 66 militants or their accomplices were detained and 37 rebel weapons caches and 17 rebel bases were discovered in Chechnya during the first three months of 2009. In addition, 1,060 explosive devices were defused in the republic during the same period.

According to Memorial, there was roughly the same number of abductions in Ingushetia during January-April of this year as during the same period of 2008. Three people were kidnapped in the republic between January-April of this year, two of whom were murdered and one who remains unaccounted for. From January to April 2008, two people were kidnapped in Ingushetia, one of whom was subsequently freed, while the other person disappeared without a trace. A total of 22 people were abducted in Ingushetia during all of last year.

At the same time the number of killings in Ingushetia has risen sharply: according to Memorial, 59 people were killed in the republic during the first four months of this year. These include 21 civilians (6 killed by unknown persons, five killed by or believed to have been killed by law-enforcement authorities, two killed by militants, and eight people killed in an explosion that destroyed the offices of Ingushetia’s court bailiffs in Nazran in January), 12 local law-enforcement officers, six servicemen deployed in Ingushetia from around Russia and 20 militants. By comparison, Memorial recorded nine people killed in Ingushetia during the first four months of 2008, including six civilians and three law-enforcement officers.

According to Kavkazky Uzel, there were 38 armed attacks on military and law-enforcement personnel in Ingushetia during the first three months of 2009, which killed 12 people and wounded 32. In addition, at least 17 civilians were murdered and three people were kidnapped, two of whom were later found dead. During this period, security forces carried out at least 10 special operations targeting militants (two in wooded areas, the rest in urban areas) in which 16 suspected militants were killed. Six members of the security forces were killed and 28 wounded during these operations.

According to the Kavkazky Uzel website, during the first three months of this year, there were 19 bombings in Ingushetia that killed nine people and wounded nine others, and 15 explosive devices were defused. Meanwhile, there were 10 incidents in which law-enforcement agency buildings in the republic came under fire. There were also arson, bombing and shooting attacks on six food stores and one kiosk, three shooting attacks on restaurants and cafés, one shooting attack on a sauna and another on a bowling club. Three counter-terrorist regimes were imposed on different Ingush towns and villages and two instances in which rebel bases and arms caches were discovered.

Meanwhile, the Ingush human rights organization Mashr reported on April 6 that eight people were kidnapped and 212 killed in Ingushetia in 2008. In addition, Mashr reported that 169 people kidnapped in Ingushetia since 2002 remain unaccounted for.