11 May 2011, 23:00

Week in the Caucasus: review of main events of May 2-8

Downpour floods the capital of North Ossetia and several villages in Ingushetia - local residents count the damage, while the authorities are trying to eliminate the consequences of the disaster; on the eve of the Victory Day a terror act was prevented in Astrakhan, while Dagestan holds a large-scale special operations against militants; Azerbaijani police again disperses protest action in Baku, - look these and other events in the review of the week of May 2-8, 2011, prepared by the "Caucasian Knot".

Dagestan: nine casualties in 24 hours

In the end of last week, a large-scale special operation was conducted in the Kizlyar District of Dagestan. In the evening on May 7, it was reported that as a result of clashes in the woodland near the village of Malaya Kozyrevka three suspected militants were liquidated, and one soldier was lost. Besides, three policemen were injured. Later it became known about seven liquidated suspected militants.

As a result of the survey of the woodland a terrorists' base was discovered. Later it became known that in that district several special operations were underway.

On the following evening, the NAC said that only in the Kizlyar District of Dagestan, eight members of the Kizlyar subversive and terrorist grouping were killed. The special operation detected three dugouts, which were destroyed by explosions, eight submachine guns, pistols and a hunting rifle. Also, components of improvised explosion devices (IEDs) and a large number of uniforms were found.

Astrakhan: FSB states terror act prevention

Last week, three suspected militants were detained in Astrakhan, the last week detained. Another one was killed at detention. Security services said that they had averted a terror act planned in Astrakhan on the Victory Day.

On May 8, the suspected militant, liquidated on May 7 in Astrakhan at detention was identified. According to investigators, he was a local resident Andrei Antonov, who tried to trigger an explosive device, when special fighters appeared. Apart from him, involvement of two detainees in the crimes has been previously confirmed: of Ruslan Yablukov and Mussa Yasulov; firearms and ammunitions were found on them.

In total, about 15 persons were detained in the course of the special operation conducted by special agents of the local MIA and FSB departments; however, on most of the detainees, the operative information is verified. According to preliminary data, the grouping was preparing a series of crimes to be committed in the Astrakhan Region, similar to the assaults on policemen committed in summer of 2010.

North Ossetia and Ingushetia: rains turn into emergency

Last week, heavy rains forced to announce the emergency regime in Vladikavkaz. The city had over 40 private houses flooded, roads washed off, and power supply lines disrupted. The rainfall had practically paralyzed the traffic, as half of vehicles were in water. The republic's authorities have not yet calculated the damage caused by the elements.

On Sunday, May 8, the emergency regime was lifted. Currently, three commissions are busy in the damaged districts of the city estimating the material damage caused to houses, municipal facilities and road infrastructure. The commissions include local administration officials of Vladikavkaz, of the Prefecture of the Iriston Municipal District, and of the Republic's Centre for Protection of Territory and Population from Emergencies and Elimination of Implications.

Heavy rains caused flooding of dwelling settlements in Ingushetia. Several villages of the Sunzha District - Muzhichi, Alkhasty and Galashki - suffered from the calamity, which touched private households and social objects: the museum, an administration building, the feldsher's station and schools; the roadbed was destroyed and completely washed out in some places.

Azerbaijan: dispersal of believers' rally

On May 6, several hundreds of believers held a protest action in front of the Ministry of Education of Azerbaijan against the ban to wear hijabs in schools. The protesters expressed their outrage that because of the ban their daughter could not attend lessons. Police tried to disperse the crowd by force. In the course of the confrontation, one protesting woman lost consciousness; and dozens of people were beaten and detained.

According to Azerbaijani human rights defenders, by 10:00 p.m. Baku time (9:00 p.m. Moscow time), at least 80 detainees during the protest action had been brought to different police stations of the Nizami, Narimanov and Khatain District of Baku.

The Baku Police and the City Prosecutor's Office began an inquiry into the believers' protest action held on May 6 in front of the Ministry of Education of Azerbaijan, which resulted in a confrontation between the police and the protesters.

As stated in the joint message of the Chief Police Department of Baku and the City Prosecutor's Office, a criminal case was initiated under Articles 221.2.1 (hooliganism, committed by a group of persons) and 221.2.2 (resistance to state official in stopping a violation of public order) of the Criminal Code of Azerbaijan.

The Centre for Protection of Freedom of Conscience and Religion (DEVAMM) has resolutely condemned the dispersal by the police of the believers' action held in front of the Ministry of Education against the ban on wearing hijabs in schools. The organization believes that despite of the peaceful nature of the action, the police demanded, with no valid reason, the people to disperse and then applied force to the believers.

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