General Killed in Grozny Gun Attack
Published: November 19, 2002 (Issue # 821)
MOSCOW - A Russian general was killed when unidentified attackers opened fire on his vehicle in Grozny late Friday, an official in the Moscow-backed Chechen administration said.
During a hunt for the killers of Lieutenant General Igor Shifrin, two police officers were shot dead and two were wounded, according to news reports Sunday. Police were searching the Chechen capital for the gunmen on Saturday when one of their patrols came under rebel fire, Itar-Tass said. An unspecified number of Chechen gunmen were reported killed in the firefight.
In a separate incident, a group of masked gunmen stopped a car carrying Chechen transport minister Said Ali Ediyev and two of his aides on the road between the cities of Argun and Gudermes, the official said. The gunmen tied up Ediyev's and the other passengers' hands, threw hoods over their heads, and drove them away. After driving a short distance, the minister and one of his aides were thrown out of the car, while the other aide was taken away to an unknown location, the official said.
Prime Minister Mikhail Babich, appointed by the Kremlin last week, said Sunday that his government's main goals are to "complete the construction of unfinished projects and shape a budget for 2003." Speaking in a television interview, he said there was no single constitutional authoritative body in Chechnya, and that a referendum on the Chechen constitution and parliamentary elections should be held as soon as possible, Interfax reported.
Akhmad Kadyrov, the head of the Chechen administration, said that so many people are disappearing in the republic that he's ashamed before his people. In the wake of last month's hostage crisis, federal forces have stepped up the hated mopping-up operations in which villages are sealed off while troops search for rebels. "Nine people have been taken away from my native village of Tsentoroi this week and it's impossible to find out where they are now. I can't look my fellow villagers in the eye," Kadyrov said Friday, according to Interfax.
At least 220 people were detained by Russian forces over the preceding 24 hours, an official in the Chechen administration said Friday. The official also said that 12 service personel and allied Chechen militia soldiers were killed in the previous day.
Kadyrov's security services have also faced allegations of criminal activity. On Friday, police in Ingushetia said that three men carrying papers identifying them as Kadyrov's guards had burst onto a bus Thursday and tried to seize two passengers. The attempt ended in a grenade explosion that killed four people and injured nine more, and the three supposed guards now face charges of attempted kidnapping for ransom.