Uruskhan Zyazikov, the uncle of Ingushetia’s President, Murat Zyazikov, was released from captivity more than six months after he was kidnapped, Russian news agencies reported on October 11. Uruskhan Zyazikov was kidnapped by gunmen on March 23 in the village of Barsuki outside of Nazran (Chechnya Weekly, March 29). In addition to being the uncle of Ingushetia’s president, Uruskhan Zyazikov is also the father of Ruslanbek Zyazikov, who is the head of Ingushetia’s presidential security service (Chechnya Weekly, July 19). Interfax on October 12 quoted a high-ranking source in Ingushetia’s Interior Ministry as saying that no ransom was paid or special operation carried out to secure Uruskhan Zyazikov’s release. “It is likely that they [abductors] got tired of keeping him and they decided to release him on the eve of the religious holiday,” the source said. “He is 80 years old.”
However, the independent Ingushetiya.ru website, citing unnamed sources in the inner circle of Ingushetian President Murat Zyazikov, reported on October 12 that a ransom had been paid in installments for Uruskhan Zyazikov’s release and that the initial ransom payments led to the deterioration in the security situation in Ingushetia in September and October because the ransom money was used by the rebels to reinforce their ranks. The militants decided to release him after receiving the final part of the ransom, Ingushetiya.ru reported.
For its part, the separatist Kavkaz-Center website on October 12 quoted “a representative of the headquarters of the Ingush sector of the Caucasus Front of the armed forces of the ChRI” [Chechen Republic of Ichkeria] as saying that “the Sharia court has amnestied Uruskhan Zyazikov (uncle of Ingush President Murat Zyazikov) who was arrested by the special operation group (SOG) several months ago on charges of crimes against Sharia and Muslims.” The representative of the “mujahideen command” said the amnestying of Uruskhan Zyazikov was timed to the end of Ramadan and connected with the fact that he had admitted his guilt, “regularly performed namaz [prayers] and had not roused any censure for his behavior.”