SERVICEMEN AND POLICE KILLED IN FRESH REBEL ATTACKS
Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 6 Issue: 35
An officer in Chechnya’s Anti-Terrorist Center was killed and three Chechen policemen were wounded on September 20 when rebels fired on three police vehicles outside the Shelkovsky district village of Krasny Voskhod, Interfax and Kavkazky Uzel reported on September 21. Rebels also severely wounded a policeman in Grozny’s Staropromyslovsky district. “The attack was carried out near the district court by three unidentified assailants,” a source told Interfax. “The policeman was hospitalized.” RIA Novosti reported on September 20 that two policemen and a Federal Security Service (FSB) officer had been injured the previous day when the UAZ vehicle in which they were traveling hit a land mine near the town of Shali. According to the news agency, the mine exploded with a force equivalent to one kilogram of TNT. Separately, unidentified attackers fired shots at police officers on patrol in Borozdinovskaya on September 19, injuring one police officer. A Chechen law-enforcement source told Interfax that one policeman was wounded and hospitalized. Borozdinovskaya is the village from which eleven residents disappeared during a June raid allegedly carried out by Russian military intelligence’s Vostok battalion. Also on September 19, a remand prison belonging to the Chechen narcotics control directorate in Grozny’s Leninsky district came under fire from assault rifles and grenade launchers. According to Interfax, no one was injured in the attack and law-enforcers returned fire. Meanwhile, law-enforcers detained four militants in the Shali district village of Novye Atagi in connection with an August attack on a car carrying district police officers, which killed one policeman and wounded another.
Agence France-Presse, citing Chechen government sources in Grozny, reported on September 18 that 11 Russian servicemen had been killed and 12 wounded over the previous 24 hours. According to the news agency, Russian military positions in the republic came under attack 14 times over that period. Interfax reported that an armored personnel carrier attached to an engineering reconnaissance platoon hit a land mine as it was traveling along the Grozny-Vedeno highway in the Shali district on the outskirts of the settlement of Mesker-Yurt. The platoon’s commander, a junior lieutenant, received severe shrapnel wounds and died on the way to the hospital. The Chechen Interior Ministry on September 18, however, denied reports put out “by a number of media outlets” that federal and Chechen law-enforcement positions had “come under fire in a series of attacks” over the preceding 24 hours. “Reports that more than 10 people have allegedly been killed and a large number of servicemen and law enforcement personnel injured in a series of attacks do not correspond to reality,” Chechen Interior Ministry press secretary Ruslan Atsaev told Interfax. Atsaev confirmed that only an APC had been blown up in Mesker-Yurt and said that otherwise the situation in the republic was “calm,” with no incidents “beyond the ordinary crime level.”
Itar-Tass on September 17 quoted a Chechen police source as saying that four officers of the Anti-Terrorist Center and a police unit commander had been killed in a battle with rebels between the villages of Dargo and Tezin-Kala in the Vedeno district. According to the news agency, two policemen from the Chuvash Republic were killed and four wounded on September 16 when their police vehicle came under fire in Grozny’s Leninsky district on its way to the Khankala military base.
Meanwhile, Itar-Tass reported on September 21 that Chechen police had taken “preventive measures” to thwart a plot by rebels to assassinate Akhmar Zavgaev, a State Duma deputy representing Chechnya. A Chechen Interior Ministry official told the news agency that police in the Nadterechny district were tipped off to the plot. “We have found out that considerable funds were allocated to Khampash Aidamirov, an associate of [Chechen rebel warlord Shamil] Basaev, for killing Zavgaev, and that he is looking for the hitmen,” the official said. Zavgaev, who was visiting Jordan as part of Chechen President Alu Alkhanov’s delegation, told Itar-Tass by telephone that this was not the first threat by “terrorists” against him. In September 2002, Chechen “gangsters” apparently in the pay of the rebels killed his brother Akhmed, after which Akhmar’s son, Said-Ali, who was a law-enforcement officer, died in the police operation to apprehend his uncle’s killers.