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Chechen women to drive killer trucks

: Maria Tsvetkova  

The seizure of the Moscow theatre by Movsar Barayevs suicide death squad has inspired Chechen rebels to new terror attacks at home. The federals in Gudermes and in Shelkovskoi districts of Chechnya are looking for 15 insurgents, who, according to some sources, are set to blow themselves up behind the wheel of trucks laden with explosives.

Chechen police assume that in their future attacks suicide bombers may start making more use of an already common weapon trucks loaded with explosives. As a rule, the assailants perpetrate blasts after parking bomb-laden vehicles near police stations, military offices, or any other administrative institution.

As the republics police directorate has told Interfax, this time a group of 15 suicide bombers has been commissioned to organise the terrorist attacks. According to police sources, the group has already travelled from the highlands in the Shelkovskoi district, which is believed to be a relatively peaceful part of Chechnya. Police forces both in Shelkovskoi and in the neighbouring Gudermes district have been put on high alert.

Cases in which rebels blow themselves up, just like Palestinian suicide bombers, are not rare in Chechnya. And it seems that it is women who face this certain death more often and more willingly than men.

Arbi Barayevs widow, killed during the Nord-Ost storming on October 26, was not the first female suicide bomber in that family. In June 2000 the warlords cousin, 22-year-old Khava Barayeva, drove into the courtyard of the special-purpose police base in Alkan-Yurt in a truck laden with explosives and blew the vehicle up.

The girl was behind the wheel, but witnesses said that she was not alone in the drivers cab allegedly, a man was at her side. Both terrorists were torn to pieces in the blast. According to official reports, 2 OMON policemen were killed and 5 more wounded in the subsequent blast. Chechen sources claimed the death toll in the truck blast reached 27.

The Nord-Ost hostage drama is not the first case in which rebels widows assumed the role of suicide bombers. A year before the widows of the brothers Zelimkhan and Rezvan Akhmadovs broke into the musical theatre in Moscow together with Movsar Barayevs death squad, 18-year-old Aizan Gazuyeva blew herself up in Urus-Martan, killing local military commandant Geidar Gadzhiyev.

General Gadzhiyev, known for his harsh treatment of Chechens, was standing in a town square when the young widow approached him and looking him straight in the eye asked: ''Do you recognize me?'' Gadzhiyev snapped at her, telling her to move away. A split second later an explosion rocked the square, and the commandant, his fellow-servicemen and the girl were killed.

In another case, the military managed to stop a female bomber and prevent the explosion. 16-year-old Mareta Duduyeva driving a Ural truck attempted to blow up a temporary police station in Grozny.

The vehicle stuffed with bombs and ammonium nitrate was stopped within 10 metres of the police gate after police opened fire at the driver. During questioning the wounded bomber confessed that the widow of local warlord Magomed Tsagarayev had hired her.

However, not all inquires succeed in establishing the identities of the terrorists. In December 2000 a vehicle blew up near the local police directorate for combating organized crime in Gudermes. Many policemen were wounded when the truck that had been supplying drinking water to the police directorate exploded. Investigators failed to identify the culprit.

The new suicide squad that has allegedly shown up in the Shelkovskoi district is less than a third of the Moscow theatre unit, and so far nothing else is known about it. To all appearances, the rebels intend to use the tactics already tested by their predecessors in Chechhya, i.e. to blow up buildings and people. At any rate, this is what the Chechen police force expects them to do. According to the republics law enforcers, terror attacks will be aimed against pro-Moscow authorities and federal officials.

29 18:01


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