Russian daily notes change of tactics by north Caucasus insurgents

Text of report by the website of heavyweight Russian newspaper Nezavisimaya Gazeta on 26 June

[Report by Vladimir Mukhin: "Doku Umarov Changes Tactics – Militants in the North Caucasus Have Stepped Up Migration and Are Attempting To Unite"]

It seems that the summer season has brought changes to the tactics of action of illegal armed formations (NVF) in the North Caucasus. As before, the most militant activity is being observed in Dagestan. Information on armed confrontations between federal forces and extremists is also coming from Chechnya and Ingushetia. Last weekend in Chechnya’s Vedenskiy Rayon, a search for a detachment of militants took place, who according to preliminary information had attacked a post belonging to Internal Troops (VV) servicemen of the Russian Federation MVD [Ministry of Internal Affairs], which resulted in one contract serviceman dying and another being wounded. The search for the militants produced no results.

According to information from the Chechen MVD, the attack on the Internal Troops’ post was committed by a group of militants headed by the Gakayev brothers, who had moved from Dagestan to Chechnya several weeks ago.

"The Gakayev band, many members of which are natives of the population point of Elistanzhi in Vedenskiy Rayon, is very well-armed. Fifteen men armed with handheld machineguns guard the band’s leader," Kavkazkiy Uzel quotes security forces. This information attracts attention because recently Chechnya head Ramzan Kadyrov said that there were no illegal armed formations of any kind in the republic, and that there was only a "small group of bandits" hiding in the mountains. Perhaps this is true, but according to information coming from the republic, this "small group of militants" is trying to unite and increase its activity by committing acts of terror and attacks on servicemen and the police, which is making life in the republic unsettled. According to information from the security forces, a large conference of leaders of bandit formations (a so-called shura) active in the North Caucasus took place around a week ago in the mountain-forest areas of Chechnya’s Achkhoy-Martanovskiy and Sunzhenskiy Rayons, which border Ingushetia, and in which militant leader Doku Umarov participated.

The very fact of Doku Umarov’s participation in the conference says that the militants do not intend to surrender and are increasing their activity. At the same time, security forces have disseminated information that Doku Umarov gave a direct order for committing terrorist acts against Ramzan Kadyrov for the purpose of destabilizing the situation not only in Chechnya, but in the entire region. And this means that new terrorist acts and confrontations with militants are possible not only in mountain-forest areas, but also in Chechnya’s capital itself, Groznyy.

One cannot say that the federal forces and the police in the North Caucasus are inactive. The chief of the Russian MVD Main Directorate in the North Caucasus Federal District (SKFO), Sergey Chenchik, reported yesterday that 164 members of bandit formations and 20 bandit leaders had been neutralized over 5 months of this year, and 198 members of illegal armed formations had been arrested. In Chechnya alone in May 2012, six militants were killed in Urus-Martanovskiy, Achkhoy-Martanovskiy, and Groznyy rayons as well as in Groznyy itself. Although the largest statistics on terrorists killed continues to belong to Dagestan. Twenty-one members of illegal armed formations were neutralized here in May. But this was done at a high price. During this time, 17 agents of law-enforcement bodies and other militarized organizations died.

The federal centre continues to increase its forces and means of struggle with illegal armed formations in the North Caucasus. The size of the MVD in Dagestan was increased in May by 500 men. A temporary operational group of Internal Troops and police spetsnaz subunits was created in the republic and has been deployed to 10 of the republic’s cities and rayons. The group has grown to 1,775 men thanks to the transfer of forces and equipment from Chechnya.

Meanwhile, the Southern Military District (YuVO) is ending the rearming of units and formations stationed on a permanent basis in mountain posts i n the North Caucasus. The YuVO’s press service reports that by the end of this year, tank and motorized-rifle subunits of combined-arms formations will receive more than 40 modernized T-72BM tanks; more than 100 BTR-82A wheeled, armoured, transport vehicles; around 500 Mustang-family KamAZ trucks; and more than 60 Tigr-M and Rys armoured vehicles. It was reported at the same time that motorized-rifle brigades operating in Chechnya and Dagestan are equipped practically 100 per cent with the newest weapons.

Source: Nezavisimaya Gazeta website, Moscow, in Russian 26 Jun 12

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