Yevkurov Attends Investment Conference as Rebels Deny Targeting Civilians

Publication: Eurasia Daily Monitor Volume: 6 Issue: 174

Ingushetia booth at Sochi investment forum

Ingush President Yunus-Bek Yevkurov was among the North Caucasus leaders drumming up investment in their republics at "Sochi-2009" -the eighth international investment forum held in the Black Sea resort over September 17-20. Delegations from 56 regions and 27 foreign countries -a total of 7,700 people- took part in the forum. The Ingush delegation, which Yevkurov headed, presented ten investment projects, including the reconstruction of a gas turbine electric power station in Karabulak and the construction of a tourist-recreation complex in Dzheirakhsky district and a brick factory in Nazran.

The Kavkazsky Uzel website quoted Yevkurov as saying that the security situation in the republic should not be an obstacle to potential investors. He also guaranteed security for companies that want to work in the republic. "I will not only guarantee the security of investors, but I am sure that nothing will threaten them in Ingushetia," Yevkurov said. The Ingush leader added that the rebels in the republic are aiming to exert influence on its law enforcement bodies, not to attack businesses. "I do not think they will be seeking to spoil the work of investors," he said. Yevkurov said that the realization of investment projects, the development of the economy and the creation of jobs in the North Caucasus are "a political task," and that achieving these goals will help to "stabilize the situation" in the region’s republics (www.kavkaz-uzel.ru, September 21).

Yevkurov’s comments were particularly striking given that he himself was seriously injured in a suicide bombing on his convoy in June, after which he spent several weeks recovering in a Moscow hospital. For months now, Ingushetia has been experiencing almost daily insurgent attacks, including a suicide truck bombing of the Nazran police headquarters that killed 25 people and wounded hundreds of others.

Nor have the last several days seen any let up in the violence in Ingushetia. Yesterday (September 22) a grenade launcher was fired at the "Volga-17" police road patrol service (DPS) checkpoint located near the village of Yandare in Ingushetia’s Nazran district. A source in Ingushetia’s interior ministry told Interfax that the incident took place around 8 p.m., local time. "Unknown persons fired from a grenade launcher at the DPS post, however the shell landed in a food store next door to it," the source said, adding that the food store was slightly damaged but no one inside it was hurt. Police mounted a search for the attackers, who managed to escape (www.newsru.com, September 22).

On September 21, five policemen were wounded when their vehicle was fired on in Nazran. The attackers, (who, according to different reports, were driving in either a Zhiguli or a Lada Priora car), fired a grenade at an armored UAZ van in which the policemen, all members of the republican interior ministry’s patrol-sentry service, were traveling. The five victims were hospitalized. The incident took place around 4:20 p.m., local time, on Nazran’s Mutalieva Street (www.top.rbc.ru, September 22; www.kavkaz-uzel.ru, September 21).

Ingushetia’s rebels, for their part, issued a statement on September 18 denying reports that they are planning attacks against civilians. The statement, which was signed by the information-analytical department of the headquarters of the armed forces of the Galgayche (Ingushetia) sector of the Caucasus Emirate and posted to the Hunafa.com website, accused "infidels" of spreading false rumors that the rebels are planning to detonate bombs in such public places as markets and hospitals, to seize schools, and so on.

"We state officially that we are not planning any operations in places where Muslims may gather. That is slander and propaganda of the infidels," the statement read. The rebels said that by spreading such rumors, the "infidels" are themselves preparing possible future "acts of terror" targeting Ingushetia’s civilian population. The statement claimed that "the Russians" have frequently used such tactics in wars and conflicts. "We say in advance that we have not followed and will not pursue a policy of killing Muslims, especially directed against children and schools," the statement read.

The rebels also held out an olive branch to Sufis and the leaders of other Muslim currents in Ingushetia, stating that they will not wage war against them "either now or after victory." However, the rebels warned school headmasters not to persecute schoolgirls who wear headscarves, force boys and girls to sit together or commit any other "anti-Islamic" acts. They also threatened to kill teachers who teach so-called "lessons of courage," which they claim have been devised by President Yevkurov and are aimed at defaming the rebels and lionizing slain "apostates" -an apparent reference policemen and other security officials killed by the rebels (http://hunafa.com/?p=2049).

Meanwhile, Stanislav Stadnichenko, the Deputy Head of the Main Department of the Prosecutor General’s Office for the Southern Federal District, said yesterday that an overwhelming majority of the terrorism cases tried in the courts of the Southern Federal District were tried in Chechnya, Ingushetia, and Dagestan. "The Southern Federal District accounts for some 80 percent of the criminal cases involving terrorism, and some 90 percent of the terrorism cases tried in the courts of the Southern Federal District are tried in Chechnya, Ingushetia, and Dagestan," Stadnichenko told reporters in Rostov-on-Don (Interfax, September 22).