ROAR: “Kadyrov’s residence can withstand any siege”

Media describe the latest fight between militants and security officers near the village of Tsentoroi as attack against Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov.

Six police officers were killed and 18 more were injured during a shootout that took place at dawn on Sunday as about 15 militants attacked the Chechen president’s home village Tsentoroi. Earlier, Ramzan Kadyrov said that 12 militants and two of his bodyguards had been killed.

Kadyrov was reportedly in the village when his bodyguards and police clashed with militants. Media said the republic’s head led the operation and was later shown at the scene of the gunfight.

Chechen law enforcement agencies have identified three militants. “They all belonged to the group of Zaurbek Avdorkhanov who is the brother of warlord Akhmed Avdorkhanov, who was killed earlier,” a source told Interfax.

At least five of the attackers could have been foreigners, another source told the agency, referring to their appearances.

“The new attack of terrorists stunned the North Caucasus,” Izvestia daily said. “This time their aim was Tsentoroi, the Chechen president’s home village.”

The sudden storm without any chance of success has raised the question, “How do militants gather strength and fight again despite practically daily reports about the elimination of them and their leaders,” the paper said.

There could have been two cameramen in the group of militants who were shooting the battle, and they allegedly managed to escape, the daily said. Out of 12 killed militants, seven allegedly blew themselves up.

There was information that Doku Umarov, one of Russia’s most wanted terrorists, had ordered the storming of the village, a source in the Chechen law enforcement agencies told Izvestia. The militants may have planned to attack only the house of a policeman on the outskirts, but they “underestimated the quick reaction of the president’s bodyguards,” the paper said.

However, Kadyrov told the paper that he had information about a possible attack in advance. “It was connected with the name of the village, and those who sent it knew this. But they also knew that nobody could have a chance to escape,” he said. There was no panic in the village, neither during the attack not after it,” he said.

“Kadyrov’s residence is able to withstand any siege,” a member of the Public Chamber Maksim Shevchenko said. “Thus, the militants were not trying to take the village or lay siege to the residence,” he told Izvestia. “They probably tried to show that the republic’s president does not control the situation.”

The analyst assumed that Umarov’s rivals who “do not agree with his attempts to transfer military activities beyond Chechnya could have organized the attack.”

Nevertheless, the attack in Tsentoroi “was like a bolt from the blue,” the paper noted. “Unlike Dagestan or Ingushetia, Chechnya recently has been a rare aim for terrorist attacks.

In addition, on Saturday the head of the Federal Security Service, Aleksandr Bortnikov, reported to President Dmitry Medvedev about the elimination of more than 30 militants in the North Caucasus during August.

It is useless to hope that successes of law enforcement agencies “will decrease militants’ activities,” Shevchenko told the paper. Illegal armed groups attract those involved in blood feud or people who have a grudge against authorities, he noted. They are supported by radical ideological sources, he added.

To change the situation, it is necessary to improve the socio-economic situation in the North Caucasus, “there is no other recipe,” the analyst noted.

This is the first incident in the village of Tsentoroi in over six years, Vremya Novostey daily said. “In May 2004, militants attacked the military post on the village’s outskirts, and three militants and one security officer were killed,” the paper noted.

This time the only ones who could escape were those who “filmed the attack for their sponsors,” the Chechen president is quoted as saying. Security officers blocked the militants “so as to prevent civilian casualties and let no one get out of this ring,” Kadyrov said, Interfax reported.

Speaking about the fight with armed groups in the North Caucasus, President Dmitry Medvedev said that all the militants “must be punished and all of them must be eliminated. The work should be continued in this direction,” he said at the meeting with the FSB head.

Sergey Borisov,
Russian Opinion and Analysis Review, RT