Three Policemen Killed in Kabardino-Balkaria

Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 9 Issue: 27

Three policemen were shot and killed in Baksan, a town in Kabardino-Balkaria, July 7. “Criminals attacked a highway patrol post situated in the so-called Baksan circle and shot dead three members of the police with an automatic weapon,” Interfax quoted a local police source as saying. RIA Novosti reported that the bodies of two police officers were found on a road late on July 7, while the body of the third was found on the roadside. “Two government-issued Kalashnikov assault rifles and two Makarov pistols together with ammunition have been taken,” the source told the news agency.

Itar-Tass reported on July 8 that the identity of those involved in the murder of the three policemen had been established and that one of the Makarov pistols taken from them had been found. “All the three suspects are local residents,” the news agency quoted a law-enforcement source as saying. The source identified the alleged attackers as Aslan Karatsukov, 34, of the village of Dugulubei; Ramzan Bairami, 25, of the village of Psychokh; and Aualudin Bakayev, 31, of the village of Kyzburun. “Further measures to establish other members of the gang operating on the territory of the republic are being taken,” the source said.

Itar-Tass identified the slain policemen as 39-year-old Admir Adzhiyev and 24-year-old Khasan Tkhakumchev, both of whom were traffic police inspectors with the Baksan region Interior Department, and Sergeant Khusen Kanloyev, an Interior Department patrol police officer. The news agency reported that they were found dead at the 26th kilometer of the Prokhladny-Elbrus highway near the city of Baksa late on July 7. According to Itar-Tass, their bullet-riddled bodies were found on the highway and roadside not far from a Zhiguli car with pierced tires, while a service VAZ-2107 car with a pierced fuel tank was found one kilometer from the scene of the crime.

Kavkazky Uzel reported on July 4 that an improvised explosive device containing explosives equivalent to 8.2 kilograms of TNT and packed with bolts went off in the city of Tyrnyauz in Kabardino-Balkaria’s Baksan valley. The bomb exploded on a bridge across the Baksan River as a UAZ police vehicle was crossing it. No one, however, was hurt in the blast.

In Dagestan, meanwhile, a car exploded on a bridge in the republic’s Khasavyurt district on July 9. RIA Novosti on July 10 quoted a local police source as saying that an investigation into the blast and a search for the driver were being conducted. Also on July 9, a civilian and two militants were killed in a shootout that took place after police surrounded a house in the town of Derbent in which armed militants were said to be hiding. A militant was killed and another wounded in the shootout, which also left a civilian woman dead and a 12-year-old boy severely wounded. RIA Novosti identified the slain militants as Mansur Velibekov and his brother Gadzhi, both of whom, according to the news agency, were members of a “local armed gang.”

Also on July 9, a court in Makhachkala, Dagestan’s capital, ruled that a search of the apartment building in which lawyer Adilgerei Omarov lives, which was carried out as part of a counter-terrorist operation conducted in Khasavyurt district on July 7–8, was illegal. Kavkazky Uzel quoted Omarov as saying that the city of Khasavyurt had been blockaded by armored vehicles on all sides, after which apartment buildings were selectively searched, including those in which high-level city officials live. According to an unconfirmed report, the home of Khasavyurt Mayor Saigidpasha Umakhanov was among those searched.

Omarov told Kavkazky Uzel that nothing good will come from such operations and that there are powerful forces in Moscow who “want to ignite … [a] war in Dagestan in order to receive promotions in rank, “decorations, medals and other privileges.” According to the website, security officials reported that 11 people were detained during the Khasavyurt district security operation on July 7 and that a bomb-making laboratory was also found and destroyed.

At the beginning of July, Dagestan’s Interior Minister, Adilgerei Magomedtagirov, said that the operational situation in the republic had recently sharply deteriorated and that members of “illegal armed formations” had stepped up their activities. According to Kavkazky Uzel, a bomb blew up a Niva automobile traveling in the city of Khasavyurt on July 5, severely injuring three policemen. The bomb left a crater 1.5 meters (nearly five feet) wide and 0.4 meters (over a foot) deep.

Nezavisimaya Gazeta on July 7 quoted General Vladimir Pronichev, head of the Border Guard Service of the Federal Security Service (FSB), as saying that the situation in Chechnya, Ingushetia and Dagestan remains highly unstable. “Everything that is going on at the moment in these republics is derived from the actions of certain forces intending to destroy our state by means of destabilizing the socio-political situation in the region.”