At dawn on July 4 Russian military and Moscow-backed Chechen police blockaded the village of Kotar-Yurt in the Achkhoy-Martanovsky district, with the support of a large quantity of armour. After closing off all routes in and out of the village, soldiers and police began a large-scale passport check.
Â “On Sunday evening several horses carrying packloads of food and ammunition were found between Kotar-Yurt and the settlement of Yandi-Kotar (Achkhoy-Martanovsky district). There were rumours that guerrillas might have entered Yandi-Kotar or Kotar-Yurt. People were extremely anxious about this, and it’s evident that their fears have proved to be not without foundation,” said Salman Bakayev, a 47-year-old resident of the Achkhoy-Martanovsky district.
Â “In the morning soldiers and police closed offÂ all roads leading into Kotar-Yurt. A large-scale mop-up is going on there right now. It’s not known exactly what is taking place there, because no one is being allowed into the village and no one is being allowed out of it. In the course of such â€˜special operations’ the law enforcers frequently detain innocent people, whom they then declare to be either guerrillas or their accomplices,” he asserts.
Â Local residents note that the number of all manner of “special operations” has sharply increased of late in Chechnya. In the past month alone, according to the data of the Information Centre of the Council of Chechen NGOs, no less than 15 operations of a similar kind have been conducted in the republic.
Â A source in the Chechen Interior Ministry says that the large-scale special operations in various regions of the republic are being conducted in connection with a certain mobilization of guerrillas in the republic’s south.
Â “The leaders of the bandit formations are not abandoning their plans to destabilize the situation in the territory of the republic. Therefore the law enforcement agencies are taking measures of a preventive nature in various regions of Chechnya. These measures are already producing results. In the past month alone 40 members of illegal armed formations and their accomplices have been arrested in the territory of republic,”Â a police official asserts.