In Kabardino-Balkaria today (March 16), three alleged militants were killed in a shootout with law-enforcement personnel. The incident took place at around 6:40 a.m., local time, on the border between the republic’s Baksansky and Prokhladnensky municipal districts. According to Russia’s Anti-Terrorist Committee (NAK), police tried to stop a Mercedes automobile and those inside resisted, throwing a grenade at them. In response, the car’s occupants were “neutralized” by return fire, the NAK reported. While it said the slain suspects had been preliminarily identified, the committee did not give their names, but reported that they had been involved in a series of terrorist crimes and attacks on law-enforcement personnel and, according to the Federal Security Service (FSB) branch in Kabardino-Balkaria, were planning terrorist acts in crowded public places as well as attacks on the heads of the republic’s law-enforcement agencies (http://www.ria.ru/defense_safety/20120316/596687490.html).
On March 14, members of the FSB’s branch in Kabardino-Balkaria detained the owner of an indoor parking garage in the capital Nalchik, where they had found an underground bomb factory. The FSB staff defused nine improvised explosive devices found at the site that together were equal to more than 100 kilograms of TNT in explosive power. The NAK later announced that FSB officers had convinced the owner of the garage, identified as Tembulat Kazdokhov, to surrender, and had found him in possession of weapons, ammunition and grenades. According to the committee, Kazdokhov is a member of a rebel group operating in Nalchik headed by Azparukh Shamaev, who is on the federal wanted list (www.kavkaz-uzel.ru, March 14).
Also on March 14, three people were detained at a dacha cooperative near Nalchik. A republican law-enforcement source told Interfax that on a tip, police discovered three men at a dacha, each of whom was in possession of a hand grenade and narcotics. The source said the detainees’ possible connections with “illegal armed formations” were being investigated (http://www.interfax-russia.ru/South/news.asp?id=299858&sec=1672).
On March 12, six people were killed during a special operation in the village of Mir, located west of Nalchik in Kabardino-Balkaria’s Chegem district. The incident began when security forces blockaded some five suspected rebels in a private home in the village, who opened fire when they were asked to surrender. The NAK reported that the six people killed included five “bandits” and a female accomplice. Another woman was detained (www.kavkaz-uzel.ru, March 12). Several of those killed during the operation in Mir were later identified as Arslan Gegraev, the 36-year-old head of the rebels’ southwestern sector, 26-year-old Rustam Zhuboev, 23-year-old Zalimkhan Khakonov and 37-year-old Azret Suyunbaev. The slain female accomplice was identified as Dianna Gulieva (http://www.ria.ru/defense_safety/20120313/593586183.html).
The woman detained during the Mir special operation was later identified as the wife of Alim Zankishiev, the rebel leader in Kabardino-Balkaria. She was described as a 23-year-old native of Karachaevo-Cherkessia. Zankishiev is on the federal wanted list for allegedly having committed serious crimes in Kabardino-Balkaria, including the March 2010 murder of a senior police officer at the entrance to his home in the city of Baksan (www.kavkaz-uzel.ru, March 14).
Apparent insurgency-related violence was reported in Chechnya yesterday (March 15). An unidentified gunman shot a 26-year-old senior lieutenant with the criminal investigation department of the Gudermes district police department outside the officer’s home. The policeman later died in the hospital (www.kavkaz-uzel.ru, March 15).
On March 13, police in Chechnya’s Sunzha district detained a 33-year-old man on suspicion of aiding the republic’s rebels. A day earlier, police in Achkhoi-Martan detained a 41-year-old resident of the town on suspicion of aiding the rebels (www.kavkaz-uzel.ru, March 14).
In Dagestan, unidentified gunmen yesterday (March 15) shot and wounded an employee of the prosecutor’s office in Makhachkala, the republic’s capital. The incident occurred as the victim was approaching the entrance to his apartment building. He was wounded in the shoulder and hospitalized (www.kavkaz-uzel.ru, March 15).
On March 14, authorities said an alleged rebel was shot and killed in Makhachkala when he refused to surrender and fired on police. He was identified as Magomed Madzhigatov (www.newsru.com,March 15).
On March 13, Dagestan’s Interior Ministry reported that an “active participant in the terrorist underground” was killed in a wooded area on the outskirts of the village of Gubden in the republic’s Karabudakhkentsky district when he refused to surrender and put up armed resistance. He was identified as Arslanali Abusaidov, who was on the federal wanted list for terrorist and criminal activities, including a December 2011 attack on the Gubden police headquarters and the robbery of a pension delivery man in the village of Gurbuki in November 2011 (www.kavkaz-uzel.ru, March 13).
On March 11, three people were killed in a special operation in Makhachkala, including a woman. One of those killed was identified as Eldoz Zulfugarov, leader of the Makhachkala armed underground, while the woman was identified as the wife of one of the two rebels. The second rebel was later identified as Magomedkhan Tagirov, member of the Makhachkala armed underground (www.kavkaz-uzel.ru, March 12).
Also on March 11, security forces discovered and blew up a rebel “base” in the republic’s Karabudakhkentsky district. A republican law-enforcement source was quoted as saying that the base, at which up to 15 “armed bandits” could hide, was located in a wooded area near the village of Gubden (www.newsru.com, March 12).
On March 9, a Russian military helicopter was downed by rebel fire near Gubden. The helicopter’s crew managed to land the aircraft and reportedly avoided casualties. Government forces retaliated with a massive artillery and aircraft assault on the forested area in the mountains from which the helicopter came under attack. The military later reported that they had blocked a group of up to 15 militants in the area (EDM, March 12).