- Caucasus - Chechnya - gang violence - Russia
The parents and friends of Musa Ougourchiev have gathered in the courtyard of his house. The Ingush policeman was buried a few days ago. He died in his patrol car. Unidentified assailants riddled his car with bullets and nobody knows why.
“I don’t know who to trust anymore," says Israil Ougourchiev, the brother’s victim. "I don’t know who to believe.”
In Ingushetia, cases of policemen being targeted are not rare. In another recent case, unidentified attackers opened fire on a policeman's car and he only just escaped unscathed. Each year, dozens of policemen are murdered in the same fashion.
The authorities blame the murders on separatists, and Islamist rebels fighting against Moscow and its proxies. The province's secret services hunt the Islamists. The army stakes out villages, and ambushes are organized in the middle of town. The army talks of "liquidating" terrorists but locals are skeptical.
“We don’t have any faith in the authorities," says Adam Eissiev, a passer-by in the provincial capital Nazran.
One of the victims is Aslan Batygov. His sister describes how policemen tried to convince him to work for them. They threatened him and, according to her, her brother had no choice but to join the Islamist rebels and take up arms.
“They had no proof, nothing," says Zainab Batygova, the sister of the victim. "He didn’t do anything, he was just working on construction sites and that’s all.”
The head of the Ingush opposition talks of a vicious circle. The police and the army frame victims, accusing them of murder. Each time they execute somebody summaririly, the victim's parents ally themselves with the separatists.
“What can they do when their brother, sister, wife or father are killed?", asks Ingush opposition member Magomed Khazbiev. "Here, there’s no point expecting any justice. Where can they turn to find the truth? They have no choice but to take up arms.”
In an amateur video, the owner of a ruined house describes what happened. Afraid to show her face, she describes how special forces got the wrong address when they wanted to attack a separatist hideout.
“They told us they’d been misinformed," she says. "'A regrettable mistake.' They killed my husband and my 17 year-old daughter.”
Other images show an unusual event in Ingushetia: some separatists have been arrested alive. If they don't survive until their trial, their brothers will take up arms in order to revenge their deaths.