Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 7 Issue: 24

The violence in Ingushetia spiraled upward another notch on June 9, when gunmen fired on an SUV carrying Musa Nalgiev, the commander of the republic’s OMON special police, killing him along with three of his children, a bodyguard, and a driver. Russian and Western news agencies reported that the attack occurred in the town of Karabulak when gunmen first blocked Nalgiev’s car with their own car and then opened fire with automatic weapons. Nalgiev was reportedly taking his children, who ranged in age from 2 to 6, to kindergarten. Kommersant reported on June 12 that Nalgiev’s wife and teenage son were also in the car at the time of the attack, and that a moment before his death, a mortally-wounded Nalgiev yelled at the three attackers: “I am here! Don’t fire on the car, scum, there are children there!” According to the newspaper, the gunmen fired until they were out of ammunition, reloaded their weapons, after which one of them opened the door of the car next to where the three children were sitting and shot at them until he ran out of ammo. Kommersant reported that investigators found 120 shell casings at the murder scene, but after running forensic tests on them found that the assault rifles from which they were fired had not been used in other crimes. In addition, the attackers left no cigarette butts, hair, or pieces of clothing at the scene that could be used track them down.

Within minutes of the attack on Nalgiev, gunmen shot and killed Galina Gubina, deputy head of the administration of Ingushetia’s Sunzhensky district, in the village of Ordzhonikidzevskaya as she was preparing to go to her office there, the Moscow Times reported on June 13. Kommersant on June 12 quoted Akhmed Aushev of the Ingushetian Interior Ministry as saying that Gubina was shot as she was getting into her official Volga car. “She had only opened the back door when there was sub-machinegun fire from an oncoming VAZ-2114,” Aushev said, adding that she “was literally riddled with bullets.”

Gubina headed a commission tasked with resettling ethnic Russians in Ingushetia and, according to Kommersant, had over the past two years returned more than 1,000 Russian-speakers to the Sunzhensky district and provided them with jobs, thereby increasing Ingushetia’s Russian-speaking population to 2,500 from the just over 1,000 ethnic Russians who were left in the republic in 1995. Kommersant said Ingushetian officials believe that her efforts to repatriate ethnic Russians were the cause of her murder, noting that two years ago she was hospitalized for two months after a bomb blew up her car. According to the newspaper, the alleged perpetrator of the earlier attack, who was caught, was a Chechen named Gelgaev who had been ordered by the Sunzhensky district rebel emir to kill Gubina.

The attacks on Nalgiev and his children and Gubina were only the latest targeting Ingushetian officials and law-enforcement personnel. On June 7, gunmen in Nazran seriously wounded a border guard on June 7. Two officers of the Federal Security Service (FSB) branch in Ingushetia were killed and one was wounded when gunmen attacked their car in Nazran on June 4 (Chechnya Weekly, June 8).

On June 11, two days after the murders of the Nalgievs and Gubina, the Ingushetian branch of the FSB reported finding a “militant base” during a special operation on the outskirts of the village of Yandare. According to Interfax, among the things found there was a silver VAZ-2114 that may have been used in the June 9 murders.

On June 14, units of Ingushetia’s Interior Ministry, FSB, and the Russian army conducted a security operation outside the villages of Ali-Yurt and Surkhakhi. The Associated Press reported that Russian helicopters had bombed a wooded area, while Interfax quoted Ingushetian Interior Minister Beslan Khamkhoev as saying that the air strikes had caused the militants to disperse and flee deeper into the forest. “There are a total of 25 militants,” he said. “They have split into several groups.” He claimed that the militants included people of Ingush origin, Chechens, Arabs, and representatives of other ethnicities, and were involved in the Nalgiev-Gubina murders. Several of the militants, Khamkhoev said, were “eliminated” during the operation. Itar-Tass on June 14 identified the militants as belonging to the group led by Ali Taziev, the associate of Chechen rebel warlord Shamil Basaev who took part in the June 2004 attacks on Ingushetian law-enforcement installations. The news agency quoted Khamkhoev as saying: “This group was involved in terrorist attacks carried out recently in the republic: the murder in Nazran of Deputy Ingushetian Interior Minister Dzhabrail Kostoev; the murder of the employees attached to the [Ingushetian] FSB; the attempt on the lives of the Nazran border guards unit; and also the murders of republican OMON commander Musa Nalgiev in Karabulak and deputy Sunzhensky district administration head Galina Gubina” (Chechnya Weekly, May 18 and June 8).

On May 17, the same day that Deputy Ingushetian Interior Minister Kostoev was assassinated, federal Deputy Prosecutor General Nikolai Shepel claimed that two alleged close associates of Chechen rebel warlord Shamil Basaev, Ali Taziev and Adam Nalgiev, had carried out the bombing and that Basaev was the “main figure” behind it. Also on May 17, the rebel website posted an interview with “the commander of the Ingush mujahideen Amir Magas (Yevloev, Magomed),” in which he said that Basaev had several days earlier ordered that “special operational groups” be set up to carry out specific military “operational-tactical” tasks, including the targeting of specific individuals. Magas said that these special operational groups had already conducted a series of “reciprocal actions and military operations” in response to the actions “of the FSB and other structures of the kaffirs [infidels] and munafiqs [hypocrites].” The rebel response, Magas said, would include actions targeting ethnic Russians in Ingushetia and elsewhere in the North Caucasus, “who we henceforth consider to be military colonists” (Chechnya Weekly, May 18).

The website on May 18 identified Ali Taziev as the former Ingushetian policeman also known as Magomed Yevloev and “Magas” who was one of the leaders of the terrorist group that seized School No. 1 in Beslan, North Ossetia, in September 2004 (Chechnya Weekly, May 18).