More Bloodshed in Ingushetia

Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 8 Issue: 35

This past week saw no letup in the wave of violence that has swept Ingushetia in recent months. A traffic police officer was shot dead by unknown assailants near Nazran on September 12, RIA Novosti reported. “The assault took place in the early hours near the village of Kantyshevo,” a police source told the news agency. “Unknown assailants shot a traffic police officer while he was on duty using automatic weapons, and then disappeared from the crime scene.” Kavkazky Uzel on September 12 identified the murdered traffic policeman as Junior Sergeant Alikhan Dugiev and quoted law-enforcement sources as saying that he may have been targeted as part of a blood feud.

Another incident took place in the early hours of September 12, when unknown attackers fired a grenade launcher at the Matritsa Theater in Nazran, the largest theater in the republic. A law-enforcement source told Kavkazky Uzel that the attackers fired twice from a grenade-launcher at the theater, damaging the building. No one was hurt or injured in the attack.

On September 11, unidentified gunmen murdered three members of a Gypsy family in the village of Ordzhonikidzevskaya in Ingushetia’s Sunzha district – 52-year-old Vasily Lyulakov and his two sons, 26-year-old Yanosh and 18-year-old Pyotr. Kommersant on September 12 quoted Svetlana Lyulakova, who witnessed the murder of her father and two brothers, as saying that the incident took place at midnight, local time. The raiders first shot the family dog, after which they burst into the house and woke up Vasily Lyulakov, demanding that he hand over gold and money. “Father fell on his knees before them and promised to hand over everything that we have, and asked only one thing – not to kill anybody,” she said. One of the raiders took off Vasily Lyulakov’s gold ring and watch, after which they took him to the kitchen and shot him. The raiders then took her two brothers, Yanosh and Pyotr, to the kitchen and shot them.

Svetlana Lyulakova said that the raiders then planned to kill her along with the wife of one of her brothers and their three children, who were also in the house. “One of the bandits aimed a weapon at us and started to shout that he’ll kill everyone, but another – a powerful red-head – said that the women and children shouldn’t be touched. It seems that the red-head was in charge.” Lyulakova said there were three raiders in all and that they spoke Russian. “In any case, they spoke Russian with us – we don’t know any other language,” she said

The deputy head of the Sunzha district administration, Antonina Khasieva, said that the murder of the Lyulakovs was not merely the consequence of an ordinary robbery but was aimed at destabilizing the situation in the republic. “The Lyulakovs had not amassed any riches, lived in a home which was rebuilt after the 2002 flood and worked in a local collective farm as tractor drivers and blacksmiths,” she said.

The murder of the Lyulakovs was just the latest in a series of killings in the village of Ordzhonikidzevskaya. On September 6, two Russian-speaking ethnic Koreans, Anatoly Lagai and his son Aleksandr, were found dead in their home in the village. Law-enforcement sources quoted by Kavkazky Uzel on September 7 said the two had apparently been shot to death several days earlier. The website reported that investigators were looking into several possible motives for the crime, including the aim of destabilizing the region. In July, Lyudmila Terekhina, a 55-year-old ethnic Russian teacher, and her son and daughter, both of them university students, were shot to death by unknown gunmen in their home in Ordzhonikidzevskaya. On July 18, ten people were wounded when a bomb detonated during the funeral for Lyudmila Terekhina and her two children at a cemetery in Ordzhonikidzevskaya (Chechnya Weekly, July 19).

On September 9, two servicemen from a Russian Interior Ministry Interior Troops battalion and two rebels were killed in separate shootouts in Ingushetia. One of the servicemen was killed in a gun battle at a checkpoint in the Nazran district village of Surkhakhi, which rebel gunmen fired on with grenade launchers and machineguns. According to Kavkazky Uzel, several other servicemen were wounded in the exchange of fire, which lasted a half an hour. The second incident took place in Malgobek, when unidentified gunmen opened fire on a unit of Internal Troops based on the eastern side of the city. According to Kavkazky Uzel, that battle lasted around five hours, during which one serviceman was killed and two were wounded. The bodies of two attackers were found after the shootout ended.

Kavkazky Uzel reported on September 11 that the militants who attacked the Interior Ministry unit in eastern Malgobek had warned local residents and blocked the entranceways of apartment buildings during the five-hour-long gun battle so that locals would not be caught in the crossfire. An Ingush law-enforcement source told RIA Novosti that the attackers had set up a “temporary checkpoint” on the road leading to where the Interior Troops unit was stationed and that ten gunmen had participated in the attack on the unit. The two militants who were killed in the battle, 25-year-old Malgobek resident Magomed Velkhiev and 23-year-old Alek Azhigov, who was a resident of the village of Novy Redant, died covering the escape of their comrades.

On September 8, a member of an “illegal armed formation” was captured in the village of Verkhniy Acheluki in Ingushetia’s Malgobeksky district.

On September 7, a policeman was shot to death in the center of Nazran, while a member of a Chechen Interior Ministry regiment was wounded in Karabulak by gunmen who escaped in a silver VAZ-2110 automobile. In addition, on September 7, Natalya Mudarova, the head doctor of a blood-transfusion station, was shot to death in central Nazran, RIA Novosti reported. The independent website reported that Mudarova was an ethnic Russian married to a Chechen (see Andrei Smirnov’s article below).