Russian Forces Face Off Against “Wahhabi” Muslims
Russian forces clashed with militants in the North Caucasus town of Cherkessk today.
Moscow News reported:
Fighting has erupted between a small group of suspected militants and Russian security forces in the North Caucasus town of Cherkessk, the BBC reported Monday.
Russian media said troops sealed off an apartment block in the town centre, where about three gunmen were holed up. A Russian TV reporter said several explosions were heard and residents were evacuated from the area.
Cherkessk, capital of the Russian republic of Karachay-Cherkessia, lies west of war-ravaged Chechnya. The besieged apartment block is on Lenin Prospect, the town’s main street. The authorities said classes were cancelled at a nearby kindergarten and school after the fighting erupted.
The identity of the militants remains unclear, although some local officials described them as “Wahhabi” Muslims.
Ria-Novosti has more on the clashes:
An armed gang, surrounded in an apartment building at around at 5:30 a.m. local time (2:30 a.m. GMT) in the center of the capital, Cherkessk, offered stiff resistance, opening fire and throwing grenades at police and Federal Security Service’s (FSB) officers.
The apartment was stormed and taken, the spokesman said, adding that two gunmen, believed to be accomplices of Chechen warlords, have been killed and one, a brother of the apartment’s owner, detained, according to preliminary reports.
The militants were suspected members of a group led by Achemez Gochiyayev, wanted for 1999 destruction of apartment blocks in Moscow, and late warlord Timur Gloov, killed in Circassia this year. The group was involved in killing local police and FSB officers, the local FSB department said in a news release.
The besieged apartment belongs to Temerlan Bostanov, one of the main suspects in the case of Ali Kaitov and his 15 accomplices charged with killing seven young people in October 2004. A verdict in the case is set to be announced by a local court later in the day.