Publication: Monitor Volume: 6 Issue: 207

Chechen rebel fighters apparently managed to ambush and destroy a Russian armored personnel carrier (APC) yesterday in Djohar [Grozny], the Chechen capital. The incident reportedly took place yesterday afternoon in the Leninsk region of the city when a federal armored personnel carrier came under fire after hitting a mine. According to various reports, a battle lasting more than an hour ensued, during which as many as five Russian servicemen were slightly wounded. Armor and helicopters were reportedly called in to assist the embattled APC. Konstantin Kukharenko, a spokesman for the federal forces in Chechnya, confirmed in a television interview that the APC had been ambushed. He denied, however, both that any Russian servicemen had been wounded and that aviation and artillery were used. Kukharenko also claimed that five to seven rebel fighters were killed in the fighting (NTV, November 5).

Whatever the case, the incident in the Chechen capital was further confirmation of the fact that Chechen rebels are continuing a bombing and terrorism campaign directed at both the federal forces and their Chechen sympathizers. The website maintained by the pro-rebel Kavkaz Tsentr claimed last week that rebel fighters had destroyed a Russian APC on the outskirts of the town of Argun and attacked vehicles ferrying Russian servicemen in the regions of Starye Atagi and Noviye Atagi (Russian agencies, November 4). NTV television’s correspondent in Chechnya reported yesterday that mines and car bombs have been exploding on a daily basis both in the Chechen capital and throughout the republic. He said that the Chechen rebels have not only been placing mines along the roads, but also hanging them from trees, after which they are detonated by the antennas of passing armored personnel carriers. Servicemen often ride atop of the APCs (NTV, November 5).

Meanwhile, yesterday, federal forces discovered and defused a mine in the Staropromyslovsky region of the Chechen capital. The federal forces’ headquarters reported yesterday that Russian military installations were fired on eight times over the previous twenty-four hours, including three shooting incidents in the capital, and that military units discovered two large caches of weapons and explosive materials. The Russian military also reported that it launched artillery and air strikes against Chechen rebel bases located in the mountainous southern regions of the breakaway republic (NTV, Radio Liberty, November 5). On November 3, policemen in the republic of Dagestan reportedly killed three Chechen rebels who tried to enter Dagestan from Chechnya on motorcycles. Two policemen were wounded in the incident. The Chechen rebels killed in the incident had reportedly been involved in an October 27 attack on a police unit in the Dagestani village of Shelkovskaya. Four Russian policemen were killed in that incident (Russian agencies, November 4).