Violence connected to the insurgency –and violence more generally– continued in the North Caucasus this past week, despite reports of splits in the leadership of the rebel Caucasus Emirate.
Three traffic policemen were shot today (August 6) on the Cherkessk-Dombai highway in the village of Ordzhonikidzevsky in the Karachaevsky district of Karachaevo-Cherkessia. One of the policemen was killed and two wounded in the incident, which took place when police tried to stop a stolen car being driven by a suspect in an armed robbery in Stavropol Krai (www.kavkaz-uzel.ru, August 6).
In Dagestan, unidentified attackers shot up a car on the Sergokala-Pervomaiskoe highway in the republic’s Sergokalinsky district on August 4. The car’s driver was killed immediately, while its passenger, a 21-year-old woman from Makhachkala, died on the way to the hospital. The attackers escaped. Investigators said the attack was likely the result of a domestic dispute and not connected to the insurgency.
On August 3, two members of the Russian interior ministry’s mobile detachment were shot and killed in an attack in the Dagestani city of Khasavyurt. Later that evening, unidentified gunmen fired automatic weapons and grenade launchers at a police unit in Khasavyurt, but no one was hurt in that attack. That same day in Kizlyar, the deputy head of the district branch of the interior ministry’s anti-extremism center, Colonel Shevket Kudzhaev, was shot and killed by two unidentified gunmen at his home (ITAR-TASS, August 4; www.kavkaz-uzel.ru, August 5).
On August 2, Magomed Salamov, a long-time campaigner against religious extremism who in 1999 led a group of volunteers set up to resist an incursion into Dagestan by Chechnya-based militants, was shot and killed in an ambush outside a cemetery on the outskirts of Gubden. According to Dagestan’s interior ministry, Salamov was on a rebel execution list (Interfax, August 3).
On August 1, a senior investigator with the investigation department of Dagestan’s interior ministry, Lieutenant-Colonel Yunus Khulataev, was shot to death in his apartment in Makhachkala (www.kavkaz-uzel.ru, August 1). That same day, a suspected rebel was killed in an exchange of fire with police in the village of Bolshebredikhinskoe in Dagestan’s Kizlyar district (Interfax, August 2).
On July 31, a convoy of OMON special purpose policemen came under fire near the village of Gubden in Dagestan’s Karabudakhkentsky district. The Grani.ru website quoted a law-enforcement source as saying that the convoy was first hit by a bomb blast, after which unidentified gunmen opened fire on it. Twelve policemen were wounded in the attack. That same day, the home of a policeman in the village of Sergokala was shot up, while someone shot at an employee of the prosecutor’s office in the city of Kaspiisk. No one was hurt in either incident (www.grani.ru, August 4).
On July 30, the authorities averted a large-scale terrorist attack in the village of Novosulak in Dagestan’s Kizilyurt district when they discovered and defused an explosive device in a grocery store. The bomb consisted of two 10-liter plastic canisters filled with ammonium nitrate and aluminum powder and a timer (www.newsru.com, August 31).
Also on August 30, three people were killed and five others hospitalized in a mass brawl between residents of the villages of Gergebil and Kikuni in Dagestan’s Gergebilsky district. The fight involved roughly 200 people on each side, some of who had firearms (www.newsru.com, August 31).
Russian media reported that since the start of 2010, militants in Dagestan have killed 82 law-enforcement officers and injured 131, while 60 militants were killed and 66 militants and accomplices were detained. Eleven civilians were killed and 57 injured in violence in the republic (ITAR-TASS, August 4).
In Ingushetia, two OMON officers were wounded by gunmen who fired on two police vehicles in Nazran’s Plievo district on August 5 (www.kavkaz-uzel.ru, August 5). On August 4, gunmen shot two police officials in a Nazran café, killing one of them on the spot and wounding the other, who died on the way to the hospital. One of the slain officers was Ibragim Yevloev, the former head of the bodyguard detail for the head of Ingushetia’s interior ministry, who was found guilty last year of the August 2008 accidental killing of Magomed Yevloev, the owner of the opposition Ingushetia.ru website who was shot dead in police custody. Some Russian media speculated that the murder of Ibragim Yevloev may have been in revenge for the killing of Magomed Yevloev, but the father of Magomed Yevloev denied his family was involved in Ibragim Yevloev’s murder (www.lenta.ru, August 4).
In Chechnya, a serviceman with the interior ministry’s internal troops was wounded on August 3 in a firefight with a group of three suspected rebels in a wooded area several kilometers from the village of Shalazhi in Chechnya’s Urus-Martan district (www.kavkaz-uzel, August 4). Early on July 31, two senior policemen were shot and killed in the Chechen capital Grozny. The bodies of the chief of the territorial police section and the commander of the patrol-sentry service of the Zavodsky district police were found with gunshot wounds in a car near a police checkpoint in the village of Chernorechye, also located in Grozny’s Zavodsky district (RIA Novosti, August 1).
Chechnya’s interior ministry reported on August 3 that 51 insurgents have been killed and 128 insurgents and insurgent accomplices have been captured since the start of the year. According to the Kavkazsky Uzel website, some local observers believe these numbers may be exaggerated (www.kavkaz-uzel.ru, August 4).