Thursday, June 16, 2005


Almost every week now, Russian troops and Chechen law enforcement officials carry out so-called "mopping up" operations in the village of Prigorodnoye, just south of the Chechen capital Grozny. Men are arrested and abducted, and many disappear without trace. A new RFE/RL report describes one recent incident, which involved the stabbing of a Chechen security agent by a young woman. From the report:

On 14 June, members of the Chechen presidential security service arrived in Prigorodnoye to arrest a young man living there.

When they went to his family's house and discovered he wasn't there, the security officers attempted to take away his father instead. A neighbor, who identified himself only as Islam, described what happened next: "When they attempted to arrest the young man's father, he put up stiff resistance. The women in the house and their neighbors came to his rescue too. The attackers, who had come in two cars, did not expect they would have such a difficult time of it. They asked for backup and two more groups soon arrived. In the fighting and shooting that ensued, one of the villagers had a heart attack and died on the spot. When the security officers realized they weren't even going to be able to handcuff the old man [whose son they had wanted to arrest], one of them hit him with his rifle butt. They were dragging him out of the house when a girl caught up with them and thrust a knife into one of the officers' neck."

The daughter fled, and the security officers soon set out in an attempt to find her. But after a daylong search, said Islam, they were unable to track her down.

"In spite of the fact that they brought death to the village and aroused anger among the people here, they spent the whole day here looking for her," he said. "But apparently she managed to escape. Even the backup didn't help."

No comments: