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Russia: Basayev Says He Helped Plan Nalchik Raid

  • Liz Fuller

http://gdb.rferl.org/f446a700-8f98-40b0-b371-c23a4936a953_w203.jpg --> http://gdb.rferl.org/f446a700-8f98-40b0-b371-c23a4936a953_mw800_mh600.jpg (AFP) In an e-mail message to the kavkazcenter.com website that was reposted on chechenpress.org on 17 October, radical Chechen field commander Shamil Basayev said that he contributed to the planning of the 13 October operation in which 217 militants participated in multiple attacks on police, army, and Federal Security Service (FSB) facilities in Nalchik, capital of the Kabardino-Balkaria Republic (KBR).

Prague, 17 October 2005 (RFE/RL) -- Basayev confirmed earlier reports that the fighters who staged those attacks belonged to the Kabardino-Balkar sector of the Caucasus Front, and he named the commander (amir) of that sector, who he said also commanded the Nalchik raid, as "Seyfullah." Seyfullah was one of 10 amirs appointed in May by Abdul-Khalim Sadulayev, the successor to slain Chechen President and resistance commander Aslan Maskhadov. Basaev said two other commanders (of the Ossetian and Krasnodar sectors) also participated in the Nalchik attack and were slightly wounded. Basayev said his own deputy, whom he identified as Ilyas Gorchknanov, amir of the Ingush Djamaat, was killed in the Nalchik fighting.

Basayev said the total losses sustained by the attackers were 42, which is less than half the figure of 91 that KBR Interior Minister Khachim Shogenov cited on 15 October. Basayev said the militants attacked 15 separate targets at 9:14 local time, and retreated exactly two hours later, having killed or wounded approximately 300 Russian and local police and military personnel. Basayev acknowledged that the attackers' losses were "serious," and he attributed the high casualty figure to a leak of information several days earlier. He said that acting on that intelligence, the Russians deployed an additional 1,000 special-forces troops to Nalchik.

Basaev acknowledged that the attackers' losses were "serious," and he attributed the high casualty figure to a leak of information several days earlier. He said that acting on that intelligence, the Russians deployed an additional 1,000 special-forces troops to Nalchik.

Meanwhile, the press center of the Yarmuk djamaat based in Kabardino-Balkaria issued a statement that was also carried by chechenpress.org on 17 October confirming its members' participation in the Nalchik raids. Russian media quoted local security personnel as having claimed to have wiped out Yarmuk in two raids in Nalchik in January and late April of this year. The statement confirmed that Yarmuk is part of the Kabardino-Balkar sector of the Caucasus Front. It expressed regret that Nalchik residents were killed during the fighting on 13 October, and claimed some of the dead were killed by local police and security personnel who subsequently planted weapons and explosives on their bodies and identified them as participants in the raid.


The KBR prosecutor's office on 16 October gave the number of dead militants as 74, of whom it claimed more than half were local residents aged between 20 and 30, according to vor.ru as cited by kavkazweb.net. The prosecutor's office said that in accordance with Russian antiterrorism legislation, the bodies of those fighters will not be returned to their families for burial.


Yarmuk further adduced and refuted three factors frequently cited in the Russian media as contributing to the rise of radical Islam in the North Caucasus in general, and the KBR in particular. Those factors are economic stagnation and high unemployment; Russia's misguided and counterproductive policy toward the North Caucasus; and a struggle for power among local clans. The Yarmuk statement affirmed that it members are Muslims and are fighting "the Russian occupiers and their godless local minions in order to impose the law of Allah, protecting our religion, honor, and native land."

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