The 21st Century Phenomenon



On Thursday 10/13/2005, before dawn, several  armed groups, numbering about 200 fighters, launched a coordinated attack on Nalchik, the capital of Kabardino-Balkaria Islamic autonomy in the Caucasus. After two days of streets fighting 92 of the attackers were killed by Russian and local forces which received, probably, a warning ahead. 31 other perpetrators were captured. 12 local civilians and 24 security officers were killed in the fierce fighting. Some government and police buildings, which were the targets of the raiders, were damaged.

At some stage militants managed to hold hostages at a police station in Nalchik, which has been sealed off. A group seized school no’ 5 in the center of Nalchik situated close to the building of the Interior Affairs Ministry while another group attacked the local airport.

Kabardino- Balkaria is located west to North Ossetia and Nalchik is only about 100 km North West from the scene of the Beslan Horror, which took place a year earlier.

Despite assumptions that the rebels came from Chechnya or Dagestan many of them were locals from Kabardino-Balkaria. An Islamic Caucasus militant website – The Caucasian Front, a general frame organization for about eight Islamic militant groups in the Caucasus, said that ‘Yarmuk Jamaat’** brigade of the Chechen-linked Kabardino-Balkaria supporters had entered Nalchik.

In an e-mail message, sent on 10/17/2005, to the website, Shamil Basayev claimed 217 fighters participated in the Nalchik raid and he helped to organize the attack that was carried out under the command of Seyfullah (Sword of God). Shamil Basayev claimed that Seyfullah (probably the nickname of Anzor Astemirov) was one of 10 Amirs (Commanders) appointed in 05/2005 by Abdul-Khalim Sadullaev, the successor of the killed last Chechen President and resistance commander Aslan Maskhadov.

According to Russian Deputy Interior Minister, Andrei Novikov, two-thirds of the militants were local residents of Nalchick, aged 20 to 30 years and their local commander Ilyas Gorchkhanov was among those killed in the attack. He also confirmed that the local sector of the Islamic Caucasian Front carried out the attack.  

On 11/11/2005 the Russian secret service managed to arrest two brothers Aslan and Ruslan Kuchmenov, in their mid-twenties, who took part in the Nalchik raid, in the far-eastern city of Chita.

** Yarmuk battle is one of the historic battles of early Islam, in 632, in which the Muslims defeated the Byzantine army and took control over the territories of nowadays Israel, Palestine and Syria.


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