November declared “the month of mopping-up operations” in Chechnya
Ruslan Isayev, North Caucasus - Large-scale „mopping-up operations“ have been going on in the Chechen capital Grozny for more than a week already with a number of Russian Interior Ministry formations as well as troops from the Khankala military base involved.
According to official reports released by the military headquarters in Chechnya only, between November 22 and 27 a total of 127 people were detained for breaching the curfew and passport regime and the figure may even rise. Most of the detained people were young Chechens suspected of taking part in military actions. Majority of them have been released already.
Since November 23 the „mopping-up operations“ have been joined by Chechen members of the special police forces (OMON) under the Russian Internal Affairs Department (UVD) for Chechnya. Besides, district police inspectors are native Chechens as well. People living in Grozny claim that in the presence of the Chechen policemen Russian soldiers’ behaviour was far less aggressive.
However, there are only a few Chechens in the special police forces and the „mopping-up operations“ are carried out all over Grozny. For example, 7 people have been detained and heavily beaten in the Michurina settlement, in the southeastern part of the capital. In the night between November 26 and 27, Michurina was shelled by artillery from an adjacent Russian military base. As a result, a few houses on the Serzhen-Yurtovskaya Street were destroyed and three people were injured by shrapnels.
Searches, document checks and combing are carried out in settlements in the foothills as well as mountainous regions of Chechnya. Witnesses who passed through checkpoints on the Chechen-Ingush border say „mopping-up operations“ conducted by the Russian forces during the last two days* resulted in detentions of 20 individuals in Duba-Yurt, 17 in Starye-Atagi, 15 in Novye Atagi, 19 in Mesker-Yurt, 3 in Dzhalka and 25 in Assinovskoye. In Assinovskoye, federal soldiers beat Mr. and Mrs. Ibragimov to get money and golden valuables from them.
General Vladimir Moltenskoi, commander of the Russian federal forces in Chechnya, said in an interview for a local TV station that the „mopping-up operations“ in Grozny and other regions of Chechnya will last till the end of November.
* The article was written on Nov 28. PW.