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29 Aug, 2010 08:13

Chechen militants attack Kadyrov’s home village

The president of Chechnya had to personally head a counter-offensive on a large group of up to 30 militants that came on his home village, Tsentoroy, on Sunday morning.

Militants entered Tsentoroy at 4:30 on Sunday morning and had time to set several private houses on fire before local militia and the president’s security detail managed to wrest the ground from enemy.

The fight continued in the mountains surrounding the village. President Ramzan Kadyrov told journalists that 12 bodies have been found and that all militants will be eliminated.

Latest reports indicate that six law enforcement officers were killed and 17 more policemen injured during the security operation. There were no casualties among local residents, though seven people have been injured.

Meanwhile, early on Monday morning, unidentified attackers opened fire on police guards in Dagestan's Khivsky district. Two officers were killed and one taken to hospital with injuries.

Earlier on weekend four militants were destroyed in Dagestan, including the leader of notorious Khasavyurt sabotage-terrorist group Nariman Satiev, according to Russian Interior Ministry.

"When policemen tried to stop [the militants], they opened fire and were destroyed by counterfire,” said the spokesperson. “One policeman was killed in the firefight.”

All bodies have been identified. The band’s leader Satiev was on federal wanted list for attempts on lives of law-enforcement agents, murders and blasts.

Two large hide-outs with weaponry and explosives were also found in Dagestan’s capital, according to a source in a law-enforcement agency. One of them, built in an uncompleted apartment building, contained a flame thrower, a grenade launcher and ammunition.

Another stash kept in a militants’ garage had ammunition and one kilo of TNT. An investigation is underway.

The events come as Russian special forces have stepped up their counter-terrorism efforts.

Political analyst Aleksey Malashenko, from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, says the rising violence in North Caucasus is a response to the Kremlin’s new federal policy towards the region. The government, he claims, is now dealing not with bandits, but with “Islamic opposition.”

According to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, the government is not going to back down on anti-terrorism operations.

“The militants killed during these recent operations brought it upon themselves by their own criminal acts,” Dmitry Medvedev said. “Back when the Moscow metro bombings took place, I said they must all be found and eliminated. This is the only way to treat them.”

More than 40 Al-Qaeda-linked terrorists have been killed in month-long security operation in North Caucasus, Russian authorities say.