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Cablegate: Insurgents in Ingushetiya Target Federal Troops

VZCZCXRO9553
OO RUEHLN RUEHPOD RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHMO #3089 2941339
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 201339Z OCT 08
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0438
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

UNCLAS MOSCOW 003089

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV KDEM PHUM PINR KCRM PREF KS
SUBJECT: INSURGENTS IN INGUSHETIYA TARGET FEDERAL TROOPS

1. (SBU) Summary: The internet-based Caucasian Knot has
confirmed only three deaths from an attack on a convoy of
federal troops in Ingushetiya, not the 50 claimed by the
jihadist Kavkaz Center website and the opposition
Ingushetiya.org website. While initial reports of major
casualties appear unsubstantiated, the fact that insurgents
have raised the stakes by targeting the FSB is noteworthy.
International assistance organizations implementing
USG-funded humanitarian projects report that security
conditions have deteriorated dramatically in the past several
days. End Summary.

2. (SBU) Internet-based media sources have painted different
pictures of events in Ingushetiya over the weekend. The
opposition Ingushetiya.org website posted a story over the
weekend that on October 18 insurgents had attacked two
convoys of Russian federal law enforcement troops with
rocket-propelled grenades and automatic weapons near the
village of Galashki, resulting in 50 deaths. This report may
have been based on a claim by the jihadist Kavkaz Center
website. The more reliable Caucasian Knot, citing a
spokesperson from the Ingushetiya Ministry of Internal
Affairs, initially posted on its website that two FSB troops
had died during a single attack and updated this information
on October 19 by adding the name of a third soldier who died.
Caucasian Knot stated that federal troops had sealed off the
villages of Muzhichi and Galashki in the Sunzha District of
southern Ingushetiya. It also reported October 20 that the
previous night there was a car bomb attack on a Special
Forces base in the town of Karabulak, several kilometers east
of Ingushetiya's largest city Nazran, as well as small arms
fire upon police stations throughout Ingushetiya.
Moscow-based news outlets also reported other attacks and
special operations over the weekend in which several persons
died.

3. (SBU) A member of the local staff of International Rescue
Committee (IRC) passed by after the attack on the convoy and
reported seeing at least two helicopter ambulances lifting
away casualties. The head of World Vision International's
operations in the northern Caucasus has noticed a notable
downward spiral in the security situation in Ingushetiya over
the last several days. She said that World Vision will be
taking additional measures to increase security, particularly
for movements of personnel to and from project sites
throughout Ingushetiya. The acting head of International
Medical Corps told us that members of his local guard force
reported that half of the police officers in Ingushetiya have
resigned. The head of IRC's operations agreed and added he
heard rumors that residents of Ingushetiya were "leaving the
republic in greater numbers."

Comment
-------

4. (SBU) Insurgents may have tried to use the tension
surrounding the planned October 19 protest rally in Nazran
against the perceived bias in the official investigation of
the death of opposition leader Magomed Yevloyev to further
escalate instability with attack. The protest has been
postponed and its organizer Magomed Khazbiyev announced on
October 18 that it would take place in Moscow and not in
Nazran. This latest incident may also be the last assault
before winter sets in on the northern Caucasus. Whatever the
reason for the increased violence, the attack on Russian
troops is a disconcerting escalation of violence which
heretofore had targeted mainly local police and public
officials.
BEYRLE

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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