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Federals lately made several successful operations against militants in Chechnya
Federals lately made several successful operations against militants in Chechnya, and largely owed the victories to information from the population, says Ilya Shabalkin, spokesman of the North Caucasian regional anti-terror operation HQ. "Ample information about members of illegal armed formations is coming from repentant bandits as they give themselves up. Arrested bandits make essential testimony, too. Local people-who are interested more than anyone else in the republic's life coming back to normal as soon as possible-are informing us ever more often about bandit stationing and hideouts," he said to Novosti. Victorious operations of the preceding few weeks brought several foreign mercenaries-some captured, others killed in action, added our interviewee. Three bandits were captured quite recently in Chechnya and Ingushetia, reports an HQ press center officer. A man of 31 was arrested in the village Nozhai-Yurt, in the district of the same name. He had previously been with a gang led by one Zairkhanov, and was known for many crimes he committed there-for instance, assaults and robberies of local people. Police held two local men in Ingushetia's Nazran, one 49 years old, the other 51. Both were warlord Zelimkhan Batayev's bandits. Two members of warlord Tarkhan Gaziev's gang found their death while planting a mine in Chechnya's Itum-Kala district. Local people reported to the police about two strangers suspiciously fumbling on the roadside close to the village Guchum-Kaleh. A huge blast followed the information quite soon. Two mutilated male bodies were found on the spot, and scattered remains of an explosive device and a walkie-talkie. One of the dead men was identified as Mairbek Ilyasov, Itum-Kala district resident, known to have been with Gaziev's gang for a long time. The gang was involved in many terror acts in Chechnya. Gaziev is known as subordinate to Doka Umarov, one of the terroristleaders. According to operational data, Ilyasov had been on a demolition squad in the Gaziev gang. He took part in an armed attack at the Shatoi district governor, February 2003, and in the murder of local woman Patimat Idrazova. Last spring, he made an abortive attempt on the life of the Itum-Kala district criminal police chief. The other bandit has not been identified as yet. Engineering experts say the men died while planting a homemade explosive device. The republican president's security men killed more than twenty militants in Chechnya's Nozhai-Yurt district, Ruslan Atzayev of the republican Interior Ministry said to Novosti. Three security men were wounded in a skirmish. They are in hospital, and out of fatal danger. A gang was tracked down between the villages Alleroi and Meskety yesterday afternoon. The bandits desperately fought for several hours, after which they dispersed in the woods. Eleven security men were wounded in the fight, and taken some to the Gudermes town hospital, others to the Kurchaloi district hospital, added Mr. Atzayev. Two policemen died in that battle. There is no precise information about bandit casualties for now. Three bodies were found on the battlefield, but more dead are assumed, says our informant of the regional anti-terror operation HQ.
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