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After relative calm militancy flares up in North Caucasus
August 23, 2010 18:28

Elbrus Mountain

No matter how hard the North Caucasus Federal District authorities try to fulfill the order President Dmitry Medvedev gave his envoy, Alexander Khloponin, to develop local resorts, all their efforts are thwarted by the renewed activity of underground militant groups.

Even the existing holiday resorts have lost much of their popularity. The flow of tourists to alpine resorts in Kabardino-Balkar Republic has grown much thinner of late, after more than ten police officers and civilians were killed in the region in one month. The latest outbreak took place last week in the Elbrus District of Kabardino-Balkaria, where local militants shot at a group of tourists, killed a local interior department officer and bombed a TV tower near a residential neighborhood in Tyrnyauz.

Law-enforcement authorities in Kabardino-Balkaria expect more bombings and terrorist attacks; they have made public several crisis hotline numbers and have asked the local population to assist the police in locating individuals involved in terrorist and extremist activities.

A hundred servicemen and mountain fighting instructors for the Army's motorized and alpine infantry units will take a month-long training program to perfect their combat skills in the Elbrus District.

Local militants are still waging their underground war from forests and mountains across the North Caucasus, carrying out attacks on densely populated areas and cities. But the federal forces are just as active. Several militants were killed in a special operation in Gunib; one of them was identified as being Magomedali Vagabov, the man suspected of masterminding the March 2010 bomb attacks in the Moscow metro. Russian special forces have also announced the death of Rustam Munkiyev, leader of the anti-government Khasavyurt group, killed in Dagestan.

Interior Force Colonel Ismail Dadalayev, president of the Association of Chechen public and cultural organizations, believes that recent militant activity in the North Caucasus has been encouraged through the special services of countries "that provoked the collapse of the Soviet Union and that are now trying to undermine Russia's stability." He said the Islamic world is celebrating the holy month of Ramadan, during which believers should demonstrate humility and love for all people regardless of their religion. "But these fighters hide behind Islam to justify terrorist attacks and killings, which are forbidden by the Koran. They should be fought and destroyed, because they bring death and grief," Dadalayev said.

      Nezavisimaya Gazeta


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