Five die in shoot-out between soldiers and policemen in Grozny
By Umalt Chadayev
GROZNY, Chechnya – An armed clash took place in the Staropromyslovsky district of the Chechen capital today between police and soldiers of the spetsnaz Zapad battalion. There were casualties on both sides.
Prague Watchdog’s correspondent learned this from a source in the republic’s law enforcement agencies. The exact circumstances of the incident are not yet known.
On the afternoon of June 20 there was an armed clash between members of the spetsnaz Zapad battalion and officers of the republic’s interior ministry. In the course of the shoot-out four Zapad soldiers and a Chechen OMON officer were killed. A road traffic police inspector was seriously wounded.
“As far as I know, a road traffic police officer and some OMON soldiers stopped a carload of soldiers to check their documents. A dispute arose between them, and it ended in shooting. Four of the spetsnaz officers were killed, and also one of the OMON troops. The road traffic inspector was seriously wounded,” said a witness who was interviewed. An investigation into the incident has begun.
According to local residents, the shoot-out between soldiers and policemen continued for 10-15 minutes. There are civilian apartment blocks in the vicinity of the Novaya bus stop, and only a fortunate coincidence can explain the fact that there were no civilian casualties.
The spetsnaz Zapad battalion, like the analogous Vostok unit, is manned by local residents. One of the battalion’s bases is located in the region of the village of Krasnaya Turbina, approximately 1.5-2 kilometres from the site of the shoot-out.