Russia Update: Police in Ingushetia Shoot Dead Two Islamist Militants and Injure a Woman

November 3, 2015
Weapons, cash and electronic devices recovered from the scene of a police shoot-out in Nazran in which 2 suspected Islamist militants were killed. Screen grab from video by Anti-Extremism Center.

News has been published today November 3 about a police shootout that ended with the death of two suspected Islamist militants in Russia’s North Caucasus.

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Police in Ingushetia Shoot Dead Two Militants and Injure a Woman Claimed to be Accomplice

News has been published today November 3 about a police shootout that ended with the death of two suspected Islamist militants in Russia’s North Caucasus.

On October 31 at about 17:00 in Ingushetia’s capital of Nazran at the intersection of Tangiev and Kartoyev streets in the factory district, police shot two men who had been on the wanted list as participants in a “illegal armed formation,” Memorial Human Rights Center reported. They were Ilyas Vedzizhev (born 1988) of Pliyevo and Beslan Makhauri (born 1988) of Assinovskaya. Leila Chemuziyeva (born 1984), a resident of the Nasyr-Kortsk district of Nazarn, was wounded.

A video was uploaded to YouTube on October 31 purporting to show the Anti-Extremism Center’s Operation. Police can be seen spreading  out guns, cash, and electronic devices on the ground.

Some eye-witness videos were also uploaded, showing one man apparently dead on the ground.

The Interior Ministry’s Anti-Extremism Center conducted to operation, claiming that the two suspected militants put up armed resistance and police returned fire.

According to a press release from the Federal Security Service (FSB)’s National Anti-Terrorism Committee, two “heads of bandit underground were neutralized.”

The NAC said the woman was the widow of a militant killed earlier, and was associated with the suspects. She reportedly tried to break through the police cordon.

According to the NAC, Makhauri was said to be a legal representative of Doku Umarov, head of the Caucasus Emirate terrorist organization killed by special forces in 2013, and was himself said to be the head of the Ingush branch of Caucasus Emirate. The persons killed were said to have taken part in attacks on police including the shooting of a police convoy in 2009 and 2012, in which more than 20 police officers and Interior Ministry troops were killed.  The NAC said the militants killed had sworn allegiance to ISIS this past June. They also said they suspected that Chemurziyeva was a messenger for the terrorists.

Leyla’s mother, Ludmila Ortskhanova, appealed to the Memorial Human Rights Center on November 2. She said that her daughter had driven into the scene of the police operation by chance. She said that her daughter had driven her to the marketplace on Chechenskaya St, about 100 meters from the scene of the shoot-out, and then had planned to drive further to a hospital to visit a friend. Ortskhanova returned from the market and police came to her door that night, but did not show their ID. They searched her home and did not provide any paperwork to sign. They confiscated two smart phones and three passports, her own and those of the wife of her landlady’s son, Tanzila Yandineva, and her father, Bilan Yandinev. Ortskhanova said that two sets of women’s silver jewelry were discovered missing after the search.

One of the  policeman told Ortskhanova that her daughter was wounded and in a special Interior Ministry wing of the republic’s clinical hospital in Nazran. Her other daughter later told her that Leyla had called her from the hospital and said she had seen the large number of police who were stopping cars, was frightened and tried to drive away and was shot.

Ortskhanova said her daughter’s husband, Vakha Tochiev was killed by police after their home had been searched several times. She believers her daughter is not involved in the terrorist group, as she is raising three minor children. When she was arrested, her children’s clothing was found in the car; she had been taking them home to wash, as her two older children are in a boarding school. Ortskhanova has retained a lawyer for her daughter, but he has not been allowed access to her yet.

According to Memorial’s information, police attempted to arrest Makhauri, one of the two militants killed, in December 2014, but he managed to escape after wounding two police officers. His wife, Khadishat Albakova, was home at the time. In April 2015, she was sentenced to three years of standard-regimen labor colony on unknown charges. Tochiev (born 1980), Leyla’s husband, was killed on August 29, 2006 near Berd-Yurt in the Sunzhensky District of Ingushetia by police as he was driving with Alikhan Gaparkhoyev (born 1980) because he refused to stop at their request.

— Catherine A. Fitzpatrick