Six Policemen Killed in Ingushetia Bombing

Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 10 Issue: 9

Ingushetia blast

Six policemen were killed and two injured in a bomb blast in Ingushetia on March 5. Russian news agencies, citing republican Interior Ministry sources, reported that the blast took place near the entrance to the village of Surkhakhi after law-enforcement officers discovered a roadside bomb consisting of an artillery shell and a detonator near a cemetery and bomb disposal experts were sent in. Itar-Tass reported that the device was detonated by remote control and went off as the bomb disposal experts began working to defuse it. RIA Novosti reported that one of those killed was identified as Nazran’s deputy police chief, Alexander Gorelkin. The Moscow Times on March 6 quoted a local police source as saying that the blast was so powerful that “the shock wave smashed windows to smithereens in the neighborhood.” The independent website reported that the blast killed seven people and wounded four.

RIA Novosti reported on March 3 that an unidentified man had fired two rounds from a grenade launcher at the house of Ingushetia’s former president, Murat Zyazikov, but that neither Zyazikov nor members of his family were injured in the attack. Several Russian websites reported that Zyazikov was not in the house at the time of the attack but in Moscow, where he now reportedly spends most of his time. The Associated Press (AP), citing Ingushetia’s Interior Ministry, reported that the attacker drove up to Zyazikov’s house, fired several grenades, and returned to his car, which then exploded. According to AP, the interior ministry said that the explosion was apparently caused by unused grenades in the vehicle.

Russian news agencies quoted Ingushetia’s chief prosecutor, Yury Turygin, as saying on March 4 that the grenades fired at Zyazikov’s house missed their target, and that among the things found in the attacker’s car, which subsequently exploded, were a Sechkin pistol, ammunition and a train ticket from Nazran to Moscow. Turygin said investigators believe that the attacker acted with an accomplice, who escaped.

Authorities identified the dead attacker as Rustam Uzhakov, a local resident. on March 4 quoted Magomed Khazbiev, who was one of Zyazikov’s main opponents while he was Ingushetia’s president, as saying that the attacker may have been seeking revenge. According to Khazbiev, a person with the last name of Uzhakov had been killed during a special operation in the village of Barsuki and that Rustam Uzhakov may have been his brother.

It should be noted that, citing a law-enforcement source, reported on March 4 that the attack the previous day had in fact not targeted Zyazikov’s house, but that of a neighbor, who is deputy director of the Ingush branch of Russia’s Central Bank. The website reported that one of the grenades fired hit the deputy director’s kitchen.

Interfax reported on March 3 that the body of the former head of the Ingush village Ali-Yurt, Magomed Abugachiev, was found with gunshot wounds five kilometers from the village, near the road to Surkhakhi. A military source told the news agency that Abugachiev had been abducted from his home early on March 3 by kidnappers who, according to witnesses, were dressed in camouflage. reported that the abductors had identified themselves as law-enforcement officers.

Also on March 3, Interfax reported that the head of the Hajj Committee of Ingushetia’s Muftiate, Musa Meriev, was pulled out of his car in Nazran and severely beaten.

The Regnum News Agency reported on March 1 that an improvised explosive device detonated in the courtyard of the house of Khusein Sakalov, an aide to Nazran’s prosecutor and son of the speaker of Ingushetia’s parliament, in the village of Ekazhevo. No one was hurt in the explosion and the house suffered only minor damage.

On February 28, three policemen were wounded when unidentified gunmen fired on their car as it was traveling in Ordhonikidzevskaya. Russian news agencies reported that the three policemen—including Magomed Yevloev, the head of the Sunzha district’s criminal police unit, another unidentified officer and their driver—were slightly wounded and the attackers escaped. reported on February 27 that policemen in the republic had been given the right to shoot and kill people participating in protest demonstrations. The website quoted an unnamed source in the interior ministry as saying that the order giving the police the right to use lethal force against protesters was issued in expectation of mass protests connected to the worsening economic situation in Russia. The source also told that the interior ministry is working as quickly as possible to hire new officers in order to bolster their ranks in expectation of growing instability.

However, RIA Novosti on February 27 quoted Major General Leonid Vedenov, deputy head of the federal Interior Ministry’s department for protecting public order, as dismissing the report that Ingush police had been given permission to use lethal force, calling it “ravings and nonsense.”