The official investigation into the attack on a military base in Chechnya’s Naursky District on 23 March has established that the six militants killed were local residents. Three of them were brothers. Two more militants managed to escape and are still at large.
According to official reports, the attackers were armed with knives, grenades, and suicide belts, and tried to penetrate base to gain access to weapons and commit terrorist attacks. Earlier reports claimed that the attackers were armed with automatic weapons and that the suicide belts were not real.
In pictures of the aftermath of the scene, assault rifles are visible lying next to the bodies, which suggests that the attackers might have gained access to weapons. The six militants were killed by shots to the head, according to Novaya Gazeta, from close range. In photos of one of the slain militants, bruises can clearly be seen on the man’s wrists from handcuffs, suggesting an extrajudicial execution.
The authorities also released the names of the six soldiers who died during the attack. Three more are reported injured. Terrorist organisation the Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the attack, though this can’t been verified.
The Kremlin reacted quickly to the incident. Spokesperson for Russian President Dmitry Peskov said that Chechen Head Ramzan Kadyrov was keeping the situation under control. Kadyrov, in turn, in an unprecedented move, recognised his responsibility for what happened in Naurskaya District.
‘In this case, first and foremost, it is my fault and the fault of all the law enforcement and security forces in Chechnya. We became too relaxed, we thought that all [militants] were neutralised and detained. But these shaytans (devils) have their cunning plans. As we can see, they don’t want to stop’, Kadyrov said on 24 March.
On the same day, after Friday prayers, Chechen police began mass detentions of young people in mosques in the villages of Naurskaya and Chernokozovo in Naursky District.