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Pro-Moscow Chechen security forces conducting a raid (file photo)
The situation in the town of Prigorodnoye on the southern outskirts of the Chechen capital of Grozny has deteriorated steadily during the past month. Law-enforcement officers carry out operations there on almost a weekly basis. The last such operation took place on 14 May and ended with a young woman in the village stabbing a Chechen security agent in the neck. Aslanbek Dadaev, a correspondent with RFE/RL's North Caucasus Service, spoke to a man who witnessed the events.
Prigorodnoye, Chechnya; 16 June 2005 (RFE/RL) -- On 14 June, members of the Chechen presidential security service arrived in Prigorodnoye to arrest a young man living there.
When they went to his family's house and discovered he wasn't there, the security officers attempted to take away his father instead. A neighbor, who identified himself only as Islam, described what happened next:
"When they attempted to arrest the young man's father, he put up stiff resistance. The women in the house and their neighbors came to his rescue too. The attackers, who had come in two cars, did not expect they would have such a difficult time of it. They asked for backup and two more groups soon arrived. In the fighting and shooting that ensued, one of the villagers had a heart attack and died on the spot. When the security officers realized they weren't even going to be able to handcuff the old man [whose son they had wanted to arrest], one of them hit him with his rifle butt. They were dragging him out of the house when a girl caught up with them and thrust a knife into one of the officers' neck."
The daughter fled, and the security officers soon set out in an attempt to find her. But after a daylong search, said Islam, they were unable to track her down.
"In spite of the fact that they brought death to the village and aroused anger among the people here, they spent the whole day here looking for her," he said. "But apparently she managed to escape. Even the backup didn't help."
Some sources have suggested that the officer stabbed by the young woman died of his injuries, but the claims could not be independently confirmed.
The heart attack victim was a 67-year-old man who, neighbors said, simply couldn't take the excitement of the events. Members of the president's security force traveled to Prigorodnoye to confirm the man had in fact died. Once the death was confirmed, the search for the young woman was called off.