Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 7 Issue: 48

The Associated Press reported on December 13 that a soldier committed suicide in Chechnya, while another serviceman deserted in neighboring Ingushetia. The news agency quoted regional police officials as saying that an investigation had been launched into the first incident, in which a contract soldier serving outside of Grozny fired a shot into his own head and died. In the second incident, a border guard in Ingushetia deserted his post carrying two Kalashnikov rifles. Police found a dead taxi driver outside Nazran, and they suspect the man could have been shot by the deserter as he was trying to flee the province in his car. Kavkazky Uzel reported on December 14 that the deserter had been apprehended.

Kavkazky Uzel, citing Radio Liberty’s Russian service, reported on December 8 that one Russian serviceman was killed and another wounded when an explosive device detonated three kilometers east of the village of Dargo in Chechnya’s Vedeno district. The incident took place during an operation to track down rebel fighters. One of the soldiers died on the spot while the other was taken to the hospital in grave condition. During the operation, sappers found and defused two other explosive devices.

Interfax reported on December 8 that one Russian serviceman was killed and five were injured the previous day when an explosive device detonated as two armored personnel carriers belonging to an engineering reconnaissance unit of the Interior Ministry’s Internal Troops were traveling on the road between Grozny and Argun. The news agency quoted Oksana Rogozina, a spokesperson for the Chechen prosecutor’s office, as saying that the blast occurred as the APCs were approaching a turnoff leading to the village of Berkat-Yurt. “Preliminary reports suggest that it was a pressure-fused explosive device,” she said. “One serviceman died from his injuries. Another five servicemen received fragment wounds of various degrees of severity. All of them were admitted to a military hospital and their lives are not in danger.”

Also on December 8, Kavkazky Uzel, citing the Nazran-based Council of Non-Governmental Organization, reported that an officer of Ingushetia’s Interior Ministry – identified only by his last name, Tarshkhoev – was seriously wounded along with his brother in Nazran that day when “a group of unknown persons in camouflage uniforms and masks” opened fired on their car.

Meanwhile, Kavkazky Uzel reported on December 12 that Salambek Omarov, a 20-year-old law student at the Gudermes branch of the Makhachkala Institute, had been seized in Grozny’s Staropromyslovsky district by “employees of one of the local power structures” and driven off to an unknown point. The website quoted relatives of Omarov as saying they had been unable to establish his whereabouts, and that he had never been involved in any unlawful activities.