Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 4 Issue: 24

A band of unidentified attackers murdered the head of the council of elders in the village of Vashindaroi in Chechnya’s Shatoi district during the night of June 26-27. They burst into the elder’s home at about 2:00 a.m., dragged him out onto the street and shot him. Responding to the incident were police from what was described by the pro-Moscow website as “a detail from a subunit” (“naryad iz podrazdeleniya”) of the personal bodyguard of Chechnya’s leading Islamic cleric.

It is thus evident that the Islamic mufti, Akhmed Shamaev, not only has a personal security force but that this force is large enough to have “subunits.” Shamaev’s predecessor as mufti, Akhmad Kadyrov, is of course the current head of Chechnya’s pro-Moscow secular administration and has a huge private army of his own. Shamaev’s bodyguards were ambushed on the way to the murder scene, and in the ensuing firefight three of them died–including Shamaev’s own son.