Author`s name Olga Savka

Confessions of a Chechen Suicide Bomber

Terrorists drive Chechen women in despair, forcing them to become suicide bombers

It has recently become known that illegal armed groups leaders are going to perform another acts of terrorism in the Chechen capital Grozny. It was said, terrorist acts would be performed by suicide bombers. Temporary army posts were set up around Grozny, an UAZ military vehicle was stopped at one of them soon. There were two Chechen men in the vehicle and a young woman. When they were asked to get out of the car and show their IDs, they said that they had no time for that. Police officers aimed guns at them immediately. A Chechen man opened fire from the UAZ the next second. The shootout did not last long. In a couple of minutes, police officers took one dead body and two wounded Chechens out of the vehicle. They searched the vehicle and found a machine-gun, a Stechkin gun and a bomb belt. The latter was made of explosive, metal parts and a remote control. Terrorists did not have any IDs with them. The wounded Chechen man died the same day, and the wounded woman remained alive for one day more. Before she died, she managed to tell a lot of interesting things to Russian special services agents.

Colonel Ilya Shabalkin said: "During the interrogation, it was determined that terrorists belonged to the armed group commanded by former Chechen President Aslan Maskhadov. The woman said, her name was Luiza Asmayeva, she was 23 years old, she came from the Naursky district of Chechnya. She said that she was forced to leave her home on February 9th, 2003. However, we found out that she had never lived on the address that she mentioned. The passport department had no record for the woman's name either. The medical examination determined, the woman was very exhausted, she was four months pregnant. Her body was covered with bruises. The blood test revealed strong psychotropic drugs. The woman said, she was trained to be a living bomb for an act of terrorism in Grozny. Arab mercenaries were her "spiritual teachers" at a terrorist camp, where she was staying with other Chechen women.

"Luiza Asmayeva said, they picked out "living bombs” from the Chechen women, who had no respectable men among their relatives, i.e. fathers and elder brothers. To suppress women's will and make them perform terrorist acts, gunmen used various violent methods, including sexual violence as well. A way back home is cut for such women, because they are considered to be humiliated and stained according to local laws and customs. To speed up the process, terrorists also used psychotropic drugs. Terrorists humiliate women on a regular basis, driving them in despair, and they eventually have to agree to become suicide bombers."

Last week, special services took other measures to prevent acts of terrorism with the participation of suicide bombers. A special operation has been recently launched on the border territory between Chechnya and Ingushetia - Russian troops were searching for a criminal group that had taken three women hostages. A shepherd from a Chechen settlement said that he had seen about 20 gunmen in the woods, and there were some girls among them. The shepherd said, they were walking one after another with their hands tied up. The girls were apparently meant to be used as suicide bombers.

Two terrorists were killed and 15 arrested in the republic of Ingushetia. The terrorists are suspected of bombing the house of the government in Grozny and the FSB building in the settlement of Znamensky. One hundred and twenty kilos of explosive were found with them along with bombs, 150 detonators, communication equipment, 200 mobile radio stations, as well as audio, video, and printed propaganda material. In Grozny, Chechen Interior Ministry officers detected a secret ammunition depot with 28 bags of nitre. Another depot with 150 kilos of hexogen was found on the outskirts of the Chechen capital. Special service agents suppose, all those explosives might have been used by terrorists in their subversive activities.

In addition to it, Chechen police officers identified a female suicide bomber last week. The woman blew up her bomb belt during a religious holiday in the settlement of Iliskhan-Yurt. The blast killed 18 people and wounded over 70. The terrorist act was performed by a 31-year-old Chechen woman.

Federal forces conducted successful operations to prevent subversive activities in Chechnya too. Thirteen terrorists were destroyed and 14 wounded in Argun, Grozny, as well as in Vedensky, Achkhoy-Martan and other regions of the Chechen republic. Two other bombers were killed in the Urus-Martan district.

Nevertheless, military analysts say, it is impossible to fight with suicide bombers with the help of military methods only, no matter how efficient such measures might be. They believe, one should have a complex approach to the issue. First of all, one should organize a closer cooperation between various structures and departments of the Russian troops. It takes too much time at present to coordinate questions between law-enforcement bodies before they can start real actions. Secondly, one should develop the work on the creation of the efficient informational network. FSB agents are supposed to stay in Chechnya longer - up to two years (they stay there for six months at present). Thirdly, one should take as much efforts as possible to block financial channels for armed groups, and to stop foreign mercenaries from penetrating into the republic. The Russian command achieved a certain progress in this respect last week. A committee of the UN Security Council approved Russia's suggestion to add Zelimkhan Yandarbiyev on the wanted list of international terrorists. Yandarbiyev commands Chechen illegal armed groups and organizes the financial support for them. The decision obliges all countries to freeze his accounts, no country is allowed to grant him access to enter their territories, any financial support for this person is excluded too. Finally, one has to normalize people's lives in Chechnya, improve the social situation, retrieve the Chechen economy.

Andrey Pilipchuk