Skip to comments.100 Dead As Russia Routs Rebel Gang
Posted on 10/14/2005 6:40:38 PM PDT by blam
100 dead as Russia routs rebel gang
By Carl Schreck in Moscow
Russian security forces claimed yesterday to have routed Islamist rebels from the southern city of Nalchik, a day after gunmen stormed government buildings and the airport in an assault in which more than 100 people died.
Soldiers and police were last night searching for the remnants of the rebel force, which was said to number about 150 men drawn from the ranks of Chechen separatists and their local sympathisers.
The body of a dead gunman lies in front of a police station
Shots were reported as they combed streets carpeted by shattered glass, bloodstains and bodies after two days of fighting.
Local authorities claimed that all pockets of resistance had been put down in the city, which is the regional capital of the mainly Muslim republic of Kabardino-Balkaria, to the west of Chechnya. But they also feared that the fighters may have retreated among the civilian population to regroup. Russian authorities found to their horror yesterday that the rebels had taken 15 people hostage. Two hostages were rescued after soldiers fired grenades through the window of a gift shop in the city centre before ramming an armoured personnel carrier through a wall, killing three militants.
Four police officers taken hostage in a van in a getaway attempt by gunmen were rescued unharmed and the militants were killed.
By midday, the head of the regional government, Gennady Gubin, said all resistance had been suppressed and all hostages freed. It appeared last night that at least 12 civilians, 24 members of the security forces and more than 70 rebels had died.
Despite their losses, the rebels had made their point. The bold assault showed that the Chechen separatist movement is still capable of striking with devastating effect, inflicting loss of life but also embarrassment on President Vladimir Putin.
The attack came a year after the Beslan school siege and underlined that the rebels' strategy is to sow instability across southern Russia.
Mr Putin yesterday said the loss of life among civilians and police was ''a great tragedy'' and hailed his security forces, who had acted "coherently, effectively, toughly".
Looking stern on national television, he appeared to prepare Russia for more attacks. "We will act as toughly and consistently as we did on this occasion," he said.
While Chechen rebels claimed involvement in the attacks, Andrei Novikov, the republic's deputy interior minister, said that two thirds of the fighters were believed to be local residents. He said the rebels' alleged leader, Ilyas Gorchkhanov, was killed and 31 of his men arrested.
Hey Putin, do you still think it's peachy for the Iranian mullahs to have a nuclear reactor? Your realpolitik parlor games are going to bite you.
Sounds like a Stallone/Schwarzenegger movie.
That is the most offensive, obnoxious, inflammatory oxymoron I have ever seen.
Man O man, I wouldn't want to be one of the 31.
So now the Islamic TERRORISTS are just a 'gang'?
Uh-huh. Let's talk after Russia opens a can of industrial-strength Scorched Earth on the Chechens.
I heard both that they killed Basayev (the mastermind behind Beslan) and also that he got away. Anyone know which one is true?
There have been way too many claims of his death previously to accept this claim at face value. That said, it certainly is possible. I'm skeptical.