Wednesday, September 13, 2006

The Widening Conflict - II

From Prague Watchdog (my tr.):

Guerrillas becoming more active in Ingushetia

Alikhan Batayev

INGUSHETIA – The Ingush public has been seriously alarmed by Ramzan Kadyrov’s recent meeting with Murat Zyazikov (September 6), because of the issues that were discussed at it. In addition to the "strengthening of brotherly relations between the two peoples" – the phrase officially used to describe the occasion – there was also discussion of questions connected with the increased activities of guerrillas in this republic.

A source close to the official Ingush law enforcement agencies has reported that an anti-guerrilla counteraction plan was worked out at the meeting, most of which was held in private. Chechnya, where the authorities consider that “order has been re-established”, was put forward as an example. According to the source, Kadyrov has been sent by Moscow in order to study the situation on the spot and to work on developing effective tactics for conducting the struggle against members of the Ingush armed underground.

The Ingush guerrillas are indeed today considered one of the most combat-effective elements of the so-called “Caucasian front”. Not a week goes by in the republic without armed clashes or attacks on police or Russian soldiers.

A favourite location for such guerrilla actions is believed to be the Ingush section of the Caucasus federal highway, which has a total length of more than 30 kilometres. From there the constant sound of explosions and exchanges of fire can be heard. Many military columns prefer to make detours through the villages rather than travel along the flat asphalt road. A method favoured by the Ingush guerrillas is to drive along the highway at full speed, opening fire from their cars on motor vehicles in which police or soldiers are riding, after which they make themselves scarce.

Residents of Ingushetia fear a repetition of the Chechen scenario, with the relatives of guerrillas being taken into custody by the special services. It is no secret that the use of precisely this tactic by the pro-Moscow Chechen authorities has to some extent induced many well-known guerrillas to move over to their side.

Translated by David McDuff.
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