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Stavropol Krai resident arrested for alleged participation in Basayev’s ‘March on Daghestan’

20 May 2021
Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation. Official photo.

On 16 May, a local court placed a Stavropol Krai resident into administrative detention for two months. The Investigative Committee of Russia suspects the man of participation in a military group led by Shamil Basayev and Ibn al-Khattab in 1999.

According to the investigators, Bagaudin Kuvanaev voluntarily joined the group of militants.

In August 1999, Kuvanaev allegedly participated in an incursion by Chechen militants into Dagestan in support of local rebels who had declared Sharia Law in three villages in the Kadar valley.

The Investigative Committee states that Kuvanaev actively participated in 'an armed insurgency to overthrow the constitutional order and violate the territorial integrity of the Russian Federation and infringed upon the lives of military officers of the Russian armed forces' in the Botlikhsky District of the Republic of Daghestan.

He is facing life in prison if convicted. 

‘March on Daghestan’

In August 1998, residents of three mountain villages — Karamakhi, Chabanmakhi, and Kadar —  of the Buynaksky District in Daghestan declared that they were establishing a single community based on the principles of Sharia law. The entity, which declared itself to be independent and outside of the jurisdiction of the Russian Federation, came to be known as the Islamic Djamaat of Daghestan or the ‘Kadar zone’.

On 1 August 1999, representatives from the villages of Echeda, Agvali, Gigatli-Urukh, and Gakko within the Tsumadinsky District of Dagestan also declared that they would be living under Sharia. Meanwhile, Basayev and Ibn-Khattab’s militant group crossed over into Daghestan from Chechnya that same month to provide military aid to the rebel villages. 

Later that month, Russian troops backed by pro-Russian residents of Botlikhsky District and local police launched a military offensive against the group led by Basayev and al-Khattab, driving the group out of Daghestan by early September, and reasserting federal control over the Republic.  At least several hundred people perished during the fighting and nearly 2,000 houses of local residents in the rebel districts were destroyed.

According to the Investigative Committee, from 1999 to 2020, a total of 80 people were convicted of involvement in the armed clashes and were sentenced to 3 – 17 years in prison. Seven people, including Basayev and al-Khattab, have since been killed. Another 28 are still wanted by Russian police.

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