Special forces in Chechnya change tactics that prove to be effective
Last weekend a secret operation was conducted in Chechnya's third largest city of Argun with participation of Ramzan Kadyrov's security service, soldiers of the rifle company under the command of Chechnya deputy military commandant Sulim Yamdayev and a group of the Chechen special purpose police unit. The secret operation targeted leaders of the local and newly come Wakhabits who get finance and directives directly from Shamil Basayev. Sulim Yamdayev says the secret operation was conducted by several mobile groups; several influential "shaitans" were liquidated during the operation.
When the special forces that conducted the operation checked one of the addresses that were to be visited during the operation, they were a success there. In the framework of the operation the special forces caught a gathering of Wakhabit amirs where the people were planning a takeover of Argun. There were 15 bandits present at the gathering, including Movladi Udugov's subordinate Ismail Eskiyev and Shamil Basayev's people, field commanders Isa Askhabov and Rashid Manayev.
It was planned to catch the extremists alive as they were involved in recruiting of terrorists and in organization of Wakhabit sorties in the mountainous regions, in Grozny and Argun. What is more, the Wakhabits from Argun were responsible for training of female suicide terrorists. The building where the gathering took place was surrounded, but the amirs showed violent resistance. A fighting broke out when the special forces used grenade cup discharges and the Shmel flame throwers. The building took fire; majority of the Wakhabits were liquidated. Basayev's three guerillas were arrested, and now the people are testifying. Unfortunately, one of the Wakhabit ideologists, Abdul-Khalim managed to escape.
Terrorists suffered the greatest losses in the first 24 hours since the operation was started: nine people were liquidated when the special forces visited the addresses selected for the operation. Ramzan Kadyrov, the head of the special service forces says that the liquidated people were leaders of the Wakhabit structures. The leader of the operation says that it was a 98 per cent success.
The assault groups acted so quickly that the terrorists couldn't show any serious resistance. On the second day of the operation subdivisions of the Chechen special police unit were shifted to the city of Argun. Thus, the three most effective structures of the republic – the special police unit, Sulim Yamdayev's special company and Ramzan Kadyrov's group – were involved in the operation. A soldier from the Chechen special police unit told UTRO journalists that special operations of this kind are good for training special forces to work together. "This is wonderful experience that is actually very effective." The losses of the special forces during the operation were minimal: one soldier was killed and two wounded.
It became possible to carry out the operation only after the security service headed by Ramzan Kadyrov got valuable information concerning Wakhabits staying in Argun. The information was obtained in the framework of the investigation of a failed assassination of Ramzan Kadyrov. As it became clear, the organizers of the assassination might probably stay in the city of Argun. What is more, a group of Argun Wakhabits was recently seen skirmishing the federal forces in the Vedeno Region of Chechnya. As UTRO already reported, on the night of July 31 the Wakhabits commanded by Shamil Basayev entered the settlement of Dyshne-Vedeno to attack the military commandant's office and the police department.
Sulim Yamdayev told UTRO: "The terrorists knew that our subdivision entered the settlement and started an active operation there. This is a home village of Shamil Basayev that is why there are always suspicious people, including Arabs, near the settlement. They always have informers in the village. It is clear why they preferred that tactics: they lined up women and children in front of themselves and started advancing; they knew that Chechens wouldn't fire at the unarmed women and children. The terrorists wanted to reach the position of the rifle company as close as possible, and then they wanted to open fire or to demand to lay down arms. In any case, they wanted to derive a profit: as a result of death of the hostages and the firing they could have blamed the federal troops for killing of unarmed women."
At midnight, special forces soldiers laying in an ambush noticed a group of people. Sulim Yamdayev says that the soldiers heard some teenager saying: "We are not guilty, why have you seized us?" They heard crying and the threats to execute the people by shooting. There were 23 hostages - women and a 12-year-old boy - whom the terrorists led to the center of the settlement. It was impossible to fire as the hostages were on the firing line.
Under those conditions the Chechen special forces made the only correct decision: they first let the hostages pass and then fired the leading group of the terrorists point-blank. The special forces fired muffled guns. Four terrorists were killed; the several minutes of confusion that the attack caused among the terrorists were quite enough to take the hostages away and harbor them in the nearby buildings. Then a fighting broke out that lasted till the next morning. Special groups commanded by Yamdayev came to the rescue of the special forces. The terrorists wanted to break away from the village; they were in panic. In the fighting, Basayev's people lost 12 people and 9 were wounded. Aslanbek Bekbulatov, one of Shamil Basayev's confidants was among the slain terrorists.
The special company of the Chechen military commandant's office commanded by Sulim Yamdayev lost 8 people within the past two months, the number of wounded is twice as much. According to the commander, the increasing number of losses among the special forces suggested changing the tactics of fighting. "Now we are getting more mobile, instead of the previous tactics of advancing in columns of 100-150 people. We constantly lay ambushes of 8-15 people on the routes that terrorists follow. If the weather gets cold and it rains, it means that terrorists will go down from the mountains to spend a night in some house of the settlement. It is good to lay an ambush there. In fact, the changing of the tactics has proved effective, the losses among Basayev's people are increasing. Ramzan Kadyrov says that the special forces are constantly looking for Shamil Basayev and never give up the searches as they consider them the main objective.