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Thursday, September 13, 2007

Annals of "Pacified" Chechnya

The Moscow Times reports:

In a new splash of violence in Ingushetia, unidentified gunmen killed a Gypsy family in their house minutes after midnight Tuesday. This is the fourth attack on non-native residents amid a wave of violence over the past two months. Chechen rebels have claimed responsibility for some of the attacks, and one report Tuesday suggested that there might be an al-Qaida link as well. In the latest attack, Vasily Lyalikov, 55, and his two sons, Pyotr, 26, and Yanysh, 19, were shot dead in their house in the village of Ordzhonikidzevskaya, Itar-Tass reported. Unknown assailants killed two ethnic Koreans in the same village Sept. 7 and the family of an ethnic Russian schoolteacher there July 16. The husband and two sons of another Russian teacher, Vera Draganchuk, were killed in the town of Karabulak on Aug. 31. "I would not classify these murders as being driven by ethnic hatred," said Nikolai Silayev, an analyst at the Center for Caucasus Studies at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations. "They are more of a provocation aimed at inciting a brutal reaction from Moscow."

About 100 fighters led by Chechen rebel leader Doku Umarov have infiltrated Ingushetia from Chechnya, Interfax reported Monday, citing a law enforcement source. Umarov has claimed responsibility for a series of attacks on police and military personnel in Ingushetia in the past three months in statements on a rebel web site. Vremya Novostei reported Tuesday that three al-Qaida emissaries of Arab origin were behind the latest violence. The newspaper, citing an Ingush special services source, said the emissaries were paying rebels $3,000 to $5,000 per attack. Sergei Markedonov, a Caucasus analyst with Institute for Political and Military Analysis, said al-Qaida involvement was highly unlikely. "There are many other and more prospective places to fight a jihad — Iraq, Afghanistan, the Middle East," he said. "By blaming al-Qaida, Ingush officials are trying to dodge flak over their own failures." Wariness about Ingushetia is mounting. Sergei Glotov, a State Duma deputy with Rodina, urged his peers Tuesday to hold a special session on the murders of civilians in Ingushetia. The Public Chamber rebuked Ingush authorities in an open statement Monday for "not using all [their] strength to prevent crime, to find and punish all those who are guilty and to demonstrate once and for all who holds the power in the republic."

Ingush President Murat Zyazikov told Noviye Izvestia in an interview published Monday that he would ban protests over police action in Ingushetia.

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