Zyazikov’s Uncle Kidnapped

Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 8 Issue: 13

Russian news agencies reported on March 23 that Uruskhan Zyazikov, the 72-year-old uncle of Ingush President Murat Zyazikov, has been kidnapped. Nazir Yevloev, a spokesman for the Ingush Interior Ministry, told RIA Novosti that four unidentified assailants attacked Uruskhan Zyazikov and his relatives, who were traveling to a mosque near Nazran. During the attack, which occurred around midday, one of the president’s relatives was wounded in the leg, and the assailants fled the crime scene in a car after seizing Uruskhan Zyazikov.

Uruskhan Zyazikov is the father of Rostambek Zyazikov, who is the chief of the president’s security guard service, and local law enforcement bodies said the kidnapping could be connected with his son’s professional activities. “Uruskhan Zyazikov has never been involved in political activities and has lived a normal life,” Yevloev said. “His kidnapping along with the assault on the relatives of the Ingush president is a provocation and is aimed at destabilizing the situation in the republic.”

Last February, Murat Zyazikov’s father-in-law, Magomed Chakhkiev, who is also the chairman of the Ingush legislature’s Committee on Agrarian Policy, was abducted by unknown people. He was freed on May 1, and according to some reports, was the result of a special operation; according to others, it was the result of a ransom payment (Chechnya Weekly, March 30 and May 4).

Meanwhile, Novaya gazeta reported on March 26 that abductions by unidentified siloviki in Ingushetia have begun to increase once again. According to the bi-weekly, there have been nine such kidnappings in the republic since the start of the year, compared with a total of 35 last year, 47 in 2005, 48 in 2004, 52 in 2003 and 28 in 2002. In one of the latest cases, Khusein Mutaliev was seized near his home in the Ingush city of Malgobek on March 15 by 20-25 siloviki in masks. He was shot and wounded as he tried to run away from his kidnappers. That day, Interfax reported that Mutaliev had died, describing him as a wanted member of the “illegal armed formations” who was killed during a special operation conducted by Ingush and North Ossetian law-enforcement personnel. The following day, Mutaliev’s body was handed over to his relatives. According to his relatives, he was not taken to the hospital after being wounded on March 15. In addition, they said they were told by the Malgobek police department that he was not on the wanted list, or suspected of membership in “illegal armed formations” or links with militants.