Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 6 Issue: 23

Fighting between rebel forces and federal troops and their pro-Chechen allies continues unabated. Seven officers of the Tver regional department of the Interior Ministry were shot to death on the border between Chechnya’s Kurchaloi and Shali districts on June 9. Kommersant reported the following day that investigators believe the incident occurred when eight officers whose tour of duty was to end on June 15 drove to a wooded area off the Kurchaloi-Avtury highway without a military escort and were ambushed by a rebel unit who fired at their UAZ van with mortars, grenade launchers and assault rifles. Six of the Tver police officers were killed on the spot, while Major Viktor Oleynik, chief of staff of the Kurchaloi district temporary Interior Ministry department, died of his wounds later in the hospital. The van’s driver survived the attack. The separatist Daymohk website reported on June 10 that the attack was carried out by “Chechen mujahideen under the command of emir Abdul-Vakhid.” Prima-News reported on June 10 that three Chechen policemen were killed on June 8 in the Shelkovsky district when unknown attackers fired on their automobile. According to Daymohk, Chechen rebels have “full control” over the entire Vedeno district “after dark.” “The mujahideen move in large groups on horseback,” the website reported. “They are fully equipped and well armed. They have assault rifles with optical sites and grenade launchers.”

As for rebel losses, Prima-News reported that the emir of the Sernovodsk Jamaat, 23-year-old Bersa Babaev, was killed in a June 7 battle between rebels and members of the Nozhai-Yurt district Interior Ministry department that took place in a wooded area three miles from the Sunzhensk district settlement of Assinovskaya. RBK on June 13 quoted Russian military sources as saying that security forces had captured three rebel fighters – one in the Groznensky district village of Alkhan-Kala, the second in Grozny and the third in the Achkoi-Martan district. On June 11, RIA Novosti quoted military sources as saying that a member of group headed by Chechen rebel warlord Shamil Basaev had been captured in the Nadterechny district village of Mesker-Yurt. reported on June 13 that Muslim Ocharkhadzhiev, a 22-year-old rebel fighter from the group headed by the field commander Akhmed Avdorkhanov, died when a bomb he was assembling in a house in the Gudermes district village of Komsomolskoe detonated. Ocharkhadzhiev had allegedly passed through a bomb-making training camp run by the late Arab field commander Khattab.