NORTH CAUCASUS VIOLENCE CONTINUES
Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 7 Issue: 33
The Caucasus Times reported on August 16 that two Russian air force aircraft had carried out a missile and bomb strike on a forest area in Chechnya’s Nozhai-Yurt district that morning. The website quoted a source in the district’s Interior Ministry directorate as saying that the air strike lasted for more than 35 minutes and cited “unofficial reports” of two local residents being hospitalized for “fragmentation wounds” sustained during the bombardment. Kavkazky Uzel reported on August 16 that unknown attackers fired a grenade launcher at a federal Interior Ministry unit deployed in Grozny’s Oktyabrsky district. No one was hurt in the incident. The Nazran-based Council of Non-Governmental Organizations reported on its website on August 15 that members of the Chechen Interior Ministry and the Russian military fired on each other near the village of Kurchaloi on August 12. According to one version of the events, the military and policemen fired on each other by mistake; according to another, the policemen were fired on by mortars. The website quoted Kurchaloi residents as saying that some 10 policemen were wounded in the incident.
Interfax reported on August 13 that an improvised bomb planted on a stretch of railway between the Shelkovskoi and Kargalinovskaya railway stations in Chechnya’s Shelkovskoi district had been discovered and detonated by sappers in a controlled explosion. NTV television reported on August 12 that one rebel was killed in a shootout with a group of FSB officers and Chechen policemen in the Shali district. Interfax reported on August 11 that Chechen policemen had discovered a weapons cache in the Grozny district near the village of Chechen-Aul and the Caucasus federal highway. The cache contained 180 kilograms of TNT.
The Caucasus Times reported on August 11 that nine people had been detained in Grozny’s Staropromyslovsky district on suspicion of involvement in blowing up cellular communications boosters on August 6 (Chechnya Weekly, August 10). The website quoted a source in the district administration as saying that the district had been “cordoned off by armed people in camouflage, after which they checked flats and detained young people from various districts of Chechnya who worked at a construction site.” Also on August 11, the Caucasus Times quoted a source in the Chechen rebel command as saying that three Russian troops had been killed and two wounded when a rebel unit fired on a Russian patrol in Grozny’s Zavodsky district.
One serviceman was killed and two others were wounded in a rebel attack in Ingushetia on August 16. The Associated Press, citing Ingushetia’s Interior Ministry, reported that the three servicemen were riding in a car near Nazran when the assailants ambushed them. According to the AP, one soldier died at the scene, while another was hospitalized and the third was only slightly injured. On August 15, unknown attackers fired a grenade launcher at a police post on the Caucasus federal highway in Ingushetia, Interfax reported. No one was hurt in the incident.
In Dagestan, one rebel was killed on August 15 in the city Buinaksk when a grenade launcher he was using misfired and exploded. Kavkazky Uzel reported that the man who was killed was part of a group of militants who had planned to fire grenades at a military installation in the city. On August 16, the Interior Ministry identified the dead militant as Abdulkadyr Mutashev, a Buinaksk resident.
On August 11, gunmen fired at a police post in Dagestan’s capital, Makhachkala, seriously wounding two police officers, Itar-Tass reported. The attackers made off with the police officers’ two assault rifles and ammunition. The police post that was attacked is located near a building whose residents include high-ranking police officials—among them the head of the department for combating extremism and terrorism and the head of the department for combating organized crime under Dagestan’s Interior Ministry. According to Itar-Tass, the eight-entrance apartment building is guarded by police on both sides.
Acting on a tip, security forces in Kabardino-Balkaria carried out a special operation on August 12 targeting a group of 10 militants in the village of Gerpigezh, 15 kilometers from the republic’s capital of Nalchik, RIA Novosti reported. The news agency quoted a republican Interior Ministry official as saying that Mukhtar Tolbaev, a leader of the Islamist rebel group Yarmuk, was killed in the operation. The official said police found three explosive devices, each containing five kilograms of TNT, and that the militants had planned to detonate the bombs at several authorized rallies in Nalchik.