Rebels Step Up Attacks in Chechnya…

Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 8 Issue: 28

In a fresh sign that the rebels in Chechnya are becoming more active, three Russian servicemen were killed on July 9 when a convoy of Interior Ministry vehicles was ambushed in the republic’s Vedeno district. Nezavisimaya gazeta reported on July 10 that the attack began when a mine detonated under an armored personnel carrier that was the convoy’s lead vehicle, after which rebels opened fire with automatic weapons on the five Ural trucks that were following the APC. According to the newspaper, the shooting continued for around fifteen minutes, after which the attackers escaped. Following the attack, security forces surrounded the area where it had taken place and searched for the attackers, but were unable to find them.

Nezavisimaya gazeta quoted sources in the Chechen prosecutor’s office as saying that rebel sorties in Vedeno have become notably more frequent of late, with several recent shooting attacks on servicemen and bomb explosions (Chechnya Weekly, July 5 and June 28). According the Chechen chief prosecutor Valery Kuznetsov, the attacks are essentially training exercises for rebel recruits. “The series of shootings and explosions carried out in the area of Agishty … were illiterate, mostly perfunctory and undirected, and this provides a basis to assume that some demolition-experts undergoing training are trying to pass examinations,” Kuznetsov said.

On July 6, the chief of police of Grozny’s Oktyabrsky district, Saipudi Lorsanov, was killed during a special operation in the Chechen capital, during which an “especially dangerous” militant was also killed. Interfax identified the slain militant as Yunus Akhmadov, and quoted Chechen chief prosecutor Valery Kuznetsov as saying there was “operational information” that Akhmadov had named himself the emir of the Grozny jamaat.