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Chechnya
06-03-2007, 10:36 PM
By Umalt Chadayev

CHECHNYA - With the onset of the spring and summer season, Chechnya is once again witnessing an increase in the activity of the armed resistance, especially in the mountainous part of the country. The republic's residents are extremely concerned about recent rumours that groups of guerrillas are concentrating in Grozny.

April and May of this year have been marked by a surge in guerrilla activity. In May alone there were at least ten armed clashes in the mountainous part of the country where the main guerrilla bases and camps are located. Also, there has recently been an increase in the numbers of young people joining the resistance. To this are now added rumours that the guerrillas have begun a covert concentration of their forces in the Chechen capital.

"Rumours are rumours, but the situation is indeed very serious," says Mairbek Isayev, a resident of Grozny. “At night time extra detachments of police are deployed in the city, and they check almost every vehicle. Also, the number of so-called ‘mop-ups’ in different localities has grown. This, with many other things, shows that the republic’s authorities are seriously afraid of something."

Isayev says that the recent removal from his post of Chechen OMON commander Artur Akhmadov, who was replaced by Alikhan Tsakayev, a blood relative of President Ramzan Kadyrov, and the reports that Muslim Ilyasov (like Akhmadov believed to be one of Kadyrov’s henchmen) has been relieved of his post as commander of the “Yug” (South) spetsnaz battalion, simply confirm the gravity of events. However, there is so far no official confirmation that Ilyasov has lost his post.

"In recent days the republic has been buzzing with exaggerated rumours that groups of guerrillas are concentrating in Grozny and nearby towns and villages. I don’t know how much truth there is in the rumours, but in August 1996, shortly before the capture of Grozny by the guerrillas, people were saying more or less the same thing. Then, too, not many believed that the guerrillas could take the city, but it happened. It’s possible that these rumours have been deliberately started by someone, but many of my friends are quite alarmed," says Alkhazur, an official of the republic’s Emergencies Ministry.

The increase in young people joining the resistance is a serious problem for the current Chechen authorities, who constantly emphasize that Chechnya has been fully stabilized and that the separatist forces, consisting of a few dozen Chechens and a limited number Arab mercenaries, are seeing their last days. Things have reached the point where Mufti of the Chechen Republic Sultan Mirzayev recently made a special broadcast on local television.

In the broadcast on May 22, Mirzayev said: "In recent months some twenty young men from various villages in Chechnya have gone to join the resistance. There will be no playing around with amnesties for these youths. They will either find their deaths in the mountains or spend the rest of their lives in jail."

The head of the Chechen clergy stated that those who have joined the resistance "to oppose the President of the Chechen Republic" are not Muslims, and urged the parents of young men "to explain to their children three times a day the evil that *******sm has brought to the Chechen people."

Mirzayev’s broadcast also got quite a mixed reception from local residents.

“The republic's Mufti is primarily a spiritual figure. He should be calling on people to attain peace and harmony, tolerance and mutual respect, explaining the rules of Islam to them, and not threatening with death those who, for whatever reason, have joined the resistance," says a Chechen student.

"Every man will answer for his actions to the Almighty alone. I really didn’t like the broadcast at all. Instead of explaining to young people the folly of those who join the resistance, he was trying to express his devotion to Ramzan Kadyrov,” the student added.
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