Law-enforces ready for tough measures against rebels in southern Russia

KABARDA-BALKARIA, 30 January, Caucasus Times: The relatives of members of illegal armed formations who continue to hide have actively cooperated with the police, trying to persuade those people to give themselves up, the republic’s Interior Minister Yuriy Tomchak said at today’s press conference in the ministry. He emphasized that he was satisfied with the results of the amnesty.

“Five residents of the republic who were on the wanted list have returned to peaceful life. One of them turned himself in to the law-enforcement bodies in January [2007] after we reported about the surrender of the four,” Tomchak said.

“I personally met the relatives of the most odious people on the wanted list. They actively cooperated with the police and sought to persuade their loved ones to give themselves up,” the Kabarda-Balkar minister said.

He said that nobody remains indifferent in Kabarda-Balkaria and everyone wants a peaceful life. The security agencies intend to take decisive steps, including the elimination of members of illegal armed formations, Tomchak said. He added that there is no ground in the republic for a repeat of the tragic events of October 2005 when armed militants attacked Nalchik.

“Effective mechanisms have been put in place at the state level to counteract religious extremism in Kabarda-Balkaria,” Tomchak said.

According to him, the antiterrorism committee plays a big role in this. The committee is led by the interior minister and by the operational headquarters headed by the chief of the Federal Security Service’s directorate for Kabarda-Balkaria. They coordinate the activities of all the law-enforcement bodies of the republic.

“There are enough resources and strength to counteract religious extremism in Kabarda-Balkaria, but we need to improve the form and methods of this struggle,” Tomchak said. At the same time, the minister believes that the law-enforcers should not fight Wahhabism as a religious movement. “At present, we are overcoming the negative consequences of the wrong approach to this issue in previous years,” he said.

The minister also said that a public council will soon start working under the Interior Ministry to ensure more effective cooperation between the law-enforcement agencies and the public and to increase public trust in the police.

Marina Yureva, Nalchik, Caucasus Times

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