An armed clash took place on the night of 29 January in Shali, Chechnya’s third largest city, between suspected militants and law enforcement officials. The shootout occurred in the city centre, near a police station. According to one version of the story, the militants fired at the building before trying to flee the scene. According to another version, a group of suspicious looking young people was stopped by police.
Eyewitnesses said that the shootout lasted for around two hours. According to a source in Chechnya’s Ministry of Internal Affairs, all the attackers, who were residents of Shali, were killed. Their names were given as: Yunus Mukayev, Beshto Emediyev, and Sidik Dargayev, all of whom were included on the federal wanted list for involvement in illegal armed groups.
Two policemen were killed in the clash: Ali Muslimkhanov and Islam Yakhadzhiyev. Two local residents also sustained injuries of varying degrees of severity. Both of them were taken to a local hospital.
In the last month, Shali and Kurchaloy districts have attracted additional attention from Chechen security forces after several young people who had allegedly joined the Islamic State were found and killed in the village of Tsotsin-Yurt. The official investigation into the group revealed that they were not the only ones, and more groups were identified in Shali District. Several young people were detained in the village of Geldygen — the ancestral village of the head of the Chechen parliament, Magomed Daudov. All of these groups were identified as Islamic State ‘sleeper cells’ by the authorities.