Tuesday morning’s brazen militant attack on the Chechen parliament was the second large-scale terrorist incident in the republic in recent months and a major setback for the Kremlin, which claims to have brought stability to the troubled province.
The attack, in which at least two police officers and an administrative manager died, began when vehicles containing militants made their way into parliamentary grounds by following cars taking lawmakers to work.
A police source told RIA Novosti that a suicide bomber then blew himself up, while the other fighters headed to the main building. There is still some confusion as to the exact amount of attackers, with estimates ranging from three to six.
As parliament was being hastily evacuated, the militants reached the fourth floor before being “eliminated,” the head of the Russian parliament’s security committee, Vladimir Vasilyev, said.
The attack, which comes just two months after a suicide squad wreaked havoc in Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov’s home village of Tsentoroi coincided with the visit of Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliyev.
“We will not allow anyone to come to us with a sword,” Nurgaliyev told the Chechen parliament shortly after the attack. “They should know that they will die by the sword.”
The Kremlin, which has placed its hopes for stability in Chechnya on former militant turned federal-ally Ramzan Kadyrov, declared last year that the decade-long counter-terrorist operation in the republic was over.
Some 20,000 Russian Interior Ministry troops were subsequently withdrawn from the republic, which witnessed two brutal separatist wars in the 1990s and early 2000s.
Critics of Kadyrov’s reign accuse him of cultivating a personality cult and involvement in human rights abuses.
MOSCOW/GROZNY, October 19 (RIA Novosti)