Terror with Terror
Conditions in the Urus-Martan region after the attempted assassination of the military commander of the region, General G. A. Gadzhiev.
An attempt was made on the life of the military commander of the region, General Geidar Gadzhiev, on November 29, 2001 near the regional military headquarters in the city of Urus-Martan. A young female suicide-bomber approached a group of military servicemen where the general was standing, and detonated an explosive device hidden under her clothes. Two military servicemen were killed and the military commander and his bodyguard were seriously wounded. Gadzhiev later died of his wounds in the hospital.
Witnesses confirm that the woman approached Gadzhiev and asked, "Do you recognize me?" To which the commander said something like, "I have no time to talk to you!" An explosion immediately followed.
Luisa Gazueva, a local resident, blew up herself along with the military commander. (Under circumstances that are unknown to "Memorial," Gazueva's husband and two bothers perished during the course of the counter-terrorist operation; in addition to this, her cousin Akhmed Usmanovich Gazuev, who was detailed by representatives of the federal forces, disappeared without a trace.)
The first hour following the assassination attempt passed unusually calmly in the regional center. By all indications, the military command expected further explosions.
Approximately an hour later, employees of the military command, soldiers and policemen from the interim division of Interior Ministry came onto the square. The first victims were the drivers of busses and cars. Servicemen began to break the windows of vehicles with the butts of their rifles. The bus station quickly emptied out. Drivers with broken windows quickly abandoned it. No one even got outraged. The soldiers could detain them and even use their weapons.
Employees of the military command arrived at the market in their URALs and began to detain money exchangers. Five or six people were detained.
People trading at the market began to disperse – some people with their goods, others without them. Military servicemen began to seize everything from the counters. Soon the market was also empty.
During the night of the 29th searches and detentions of people began. Men from the Gazuev family (relatives of the female suicide bomber) were detained and beaten.
In the course of the week following November 29, 72 people were detained in the city of Urus-Martan. Some of them were released on the very day of their detention. Others were held for a few days. Nothing is known about the fate of some of them (see below).
In the beginning of December, armed representatives of the federal forces detonated a series of homes in Urus-Martan. Apparently they blew up the homes of those families whose members – according to their intelligence sources – were members of illegal armed formations. It was reported that soldiers blew up the home of Luisa Gazueva and her parents, but "Memorial" still does not have exact information about this. However "Memorial" does have irrefutable information about the detonation of the Tsagaraevs' (see below) and Dukuzovs' homes.
On the night of December 8-9, armed representatives of federal forces robbed the Dukuzovs' home. It is known that the nephew of the head of the household is wanted as a member of an illegal armed formation. Representatives of the federal forces chased onto the street the 60-year old resident of the home, Khozh-Akhmet Dukuzov, his wife and their underage children, before blowing up their home.
The actions of the soldiers in detaining people and blowing up the homes of "untrustworthy" families spread to the villages in the region.
On the day after the assassination attempt on Gadzhiev, several people were detained in Alkhan-Yurt by representatives of federal forces. Two of them – Shamil Shirvanievich Dzhemaldaev and Aslan Muslimovich Taramov – disappeared without trace. Their bodies were later found bearing traces of a violent death (see below).
On December 8 armed representatives of the federal forces destroyed three houses in the village of Alkhan-Yurt:
1. The house of Musa Akhmedovich Yunusov was blown up. The family was chased onto the street and the head of the household was led away. His body was later found bearing the traces of a violent death (see below).
2. The house of Yunusov's nephew, Lom-Ali Umarovich Yunusov, was blown up. The family was chased onto the street and the head of the household was taken away. His body was later found bearing traces of a violent death (see below).
3. The house of Uvais Khazuev was blown up. Neighboring houses were damaged when Khazuev's house was destroyed.
On December 13, the bodies of 6 (according to some reports, 7) men were found near the village of Chernorechye, 450 meters from the intersection of the Rostov-Baku highway and the road to the village of Goita.
On December 15, the head of the administration of Urus-Martan region, Sh. Yasaev, informed a Strana.Ru correspondent that all the men were residents of villages in Urus-Martin region: Alkhan-Yurt, Gekhi-Chu and Gekhi. They had disappeared a week and a half prior. The prosecutor's office of the Chechen Republic announced that, according to initial information, the men were blown up by unidentified explosive devices. "The prosecutor's office does not yet have information about exactly when and under what circumstances the men perished."
"Memorial" knows that upon learning of the discovery of the bodies, residents of the village of Alkhan-Yurt went to the spot on that very day. They identified the bodies of those residents of Alkhan-Yurt who had earlier been detained (see above): Lom-Ali Umarovich Yunusov, Musa Akhmedovich Yunusov, Shamil Sirvanievich Dzhemaldaev and Aslan Muslimovich Taramov.
"Memorial" does not yet know the names of the remaining dead. However it is possible to state that the "death squads" composed of representatives of federal security organs in the Chechen Republic continue to operate.