Chechen rebels have sharply stepped up their attacks on federal forces in recent days. Two Russian soldiers were reportedly killed last night in an explosion in Chechnya’s Kurchaloi district. The incident occurred when rebels detonated a radio-controlled mine they had placed at a police checkpoint. An automobile carrying two members of an Interior Ministry special forces unit from Khakassia was at the checkpoint when the blast occurred. Both servicemen were killed, while another eleven people were wounded. Earlier yesterday rebels broke into the home of a local policemen in the town of Kurchaloi, stealing his service weapon and car. The previous day rebels shot up the home of Kurchaloi’s local police chief (Russian agencies, August 29-30). Also on August 28, rebels detonated a car bomb in the Kurchaloi district’s Oktyabrskoye village. The explosion took place as a convoy of three Russian military vehicles, including an armored personnel carrier, was passing near the village’s market. Immediately after the explosion, rebels fired on the vehicles in the convoy. The Interfax news agency, citing military officials, initially reported that twelve people were killed in the incident–four servicemen, two employees of the local military commandant’s office and six local residents. Subsequent reports made no mention of civilian deaths, saying that four servicemen were killed and six wounded (Russian agencies, August 29-30; Moscow Times, August 30). Following the car bombing, the Russian military claimed that it had captured three rebels involved the attack. All three were Kurchaloi district residents who had been fighting in a rebel unit led by the field commander Rabbani. According to the Russian military, the captured rebels said Rabbani had ordered them to carry out the attack to fulfil an order from the senior field commander Khattab that a new holy war be launched against Russian troops on Chechen territory (Polit.ru, August 29; Vremya Novostei, August 30).
Fighting took place in other regions of Chechnya this week as well. Federal forces in the Vedeno district, in Chechnya’s southwest, reportedly encountered resistance as a special counterinsurgency operation there entered its second week. According to Russian military sources, a security police unit came under fire yesterday in the village of Tsa-Vedeno. One policeman was killed and two wounded in the attack, including the police unit’s commander. Meanwhile, an Interior Ministry serviceman was killed and another wounded when their unit came under fire in the village of Makhketi. Russian military sources noted that the attacks in the two Vedeno district villages occurred almost simultaneously, suggesting that they were a coordinated rebel response to the Russian military special operation. The Interfax news agency reported today T-62M tank was blown up when it hit a land mine at the settlement of Gikalovsky, in the Groznensk district. Two soldiers were wounded in the explosion. Just over the last twenty-four hours, rebels carried out two bombing attacks and fired on federal forces sixteen times around the republic, killing two servicemen and wounding fifteen (Russian agencies, Military News Agency, August 28-29).
REBEL FORCES CLAIM THEY SEIZED VEDENO.