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Citizens of Kazakhstan acting as militants in the Caucasus
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, 06 2011
Almost simultaneously in Makhachkala and Chelyabinsk, law enforcement officials detained several armed citizens of Kazakhstan who had come (to Russia) to take part in the jihad. Until recently, hunters of human cannon fodder could feel completely at ease in Kazakhstan. Asa reporter for 'Nasha Versiya' found out, extremists from the Caucasus not only managed to create an extensive network of training bases where new Kazakh militants are taught to use weapons and explosives, but they were also able to set up transit routes to send them to Russia's southern regions.

News of the participation of Kazakhs in illegal armed groups came as a surprise not only for to inhabitants of Kazakhstan, but also law enforcement bodies. Earlier this month, another battle between police and militants took place in Makhachkala: armed criminals barricaded themselves in a five-story apartment building on Shamil Avenue, and laid down quite furious fire killing one policeman and wounding another. After blocking the terrorists and finally taking them into custody (according to official information, none of them were killed), their identities have been established. Theyare residents of the former Soviet city of Aktyubinsk, now known by the Kazakh name of Aktobe: Albert Abdikarimov (born in 1989) and Rainbek Yerzhanov (born in 1990). Theydid not arrive in this country empty-handed: in addition to automatic weapons and ammunition, an improvised explosive device equivalent to 500grams of TNT was seized. Another group of Kazakh militants was also arrested in Makhachkalala by the highway patrol, either at the 'Alyaska-20' highway post or on Akushinsky Avenue in Makhachkala. Then, perhaps after deciding that two groups of armed Kazakhs was enough, they sent information to the border posts that in Kazakhstan there is a large group of well-trained and heavily-armed Kazakh militants.

The Chelyabinsk regional coat of arms is adorned with a camel: the city was built on the Central Asia trade routes and became a sort of conduit for Eastern merchants. Today the area has a chance once again to regain its status of a transit point, but this time for armed Central Asian militants en route to the North Caucasus. Onthe day following the battle in Makhachkala, regional police, they say, were put on high alert status, all government institutions were placed on a pass system, and social facilities and places of mass gatherings were taken under special control. Measures proved effective: law enforcement agencies in a timely manner stopped a 'Gazelle' van with Kazakhstan license plates that was traveling towards Troitsk. Detained were six heavily armed passengers. Noinformation is available about the arrest, as the Kazakh visitors were taken into custody by theFSB.

In confidential conversations, security officials acknowledged that they somehow lost sight of the Kazakh direction, and that terrorists were quick to take advantage of it. Infact, however, the roots of the problem go way back. In1990, the Islamic Renaissance Party was founded in Astrakhan, and it set itself the task of uniting Muslims from the North Caucasus republics with Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan. Dominant in the party were Daghestanis and Kazakhs.

One of the leaders of this organization, Serikbai Yelubaev, has over 20years of experience in financing criminal gangs, traveling to Arab countries and digging up funding. Ina year Yelubaev would finance the terrorist underground on the order of$ 5million. Atone time, members of his party did a lot to organize the terrorist underground in Chechnya and Dagestan. Itis strange that such citizens of Kazakhstan, despite their apparent high profile, have managed to elude the watchful eye of the law enforcement bodies. Byand large, only last fall did Kazakhstan begin to pay attention, after a special operation in Makhachkala on October 5th, in which Yerlan Yusupov was killed. Onhis person was a Kazakhstan passport, as well as documents proving that he did not arrive in Dagestan on his own, but as part of a group of seven. Yusupov's accomplices at the time were impossible to locate.

In addition to the weapons and documents of the deceased Kazakh Yusupov, law enforcement found many useful papers that testified to the fact that terrorists from the Caucasus are holed up in Kazakhstan in earnest. Thedocuments shed light on another dark story, which had already almost been forgotten. InJuly 2009, in the vicinity of Makhachkala, five militants were killed near the village of Agachaul. Themilitants resembled inhabitants from Central Asia, and they turned out to be citizens of Kazakhstan.

It also came out that all of them, including Yerlan Yusupov, were trained to be militants in a camp located in western Kazakhstan in the town of Novy Uzen (now known as Zhanaozen). InSoviet times many Dagestani oil workers were located there, and they probably managed to organize the camp with the help of the considerable Dagestani diaspora. Inthat same city, a militant from another Central Asian country was trained in weapons: Kyrgyz citizen Beksultan Karybekov, who shot a priest in Moscow, one Daniel Sysoev.

Not long ago, Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov made an official statement that among militants killed near the Chechnya-Russian border was a citizen of Kazakhstan, Ismail Jafarov, in whose clothes were found a Kazakhstan passport, driving license, and health insurance card. Jafarov also trained at the terrorist base in the NovyUzen.

Jafarov, by the way, was a principal developer of the route for Kazakhs to travel to the North Caucasus. Suchgroups entered Chelyabinsk in minivans, then disappeared among merchants and day workers, later they would go by train to Volgograd, and later to the Caucasus. FSBoperatives guess that about two hundred Kazakh militants may entered the country en route to the North Caucasus republics in this way over the last two years, as well as perhaps one ton of explosives.

A Novy Uzen television station filmed a story on the dead militants, and it was broadcast on the (Kazakhstan capital city) TV channel 'Astana'. Thepoint of the story was such: in Kazakhstan the recruiting of young people is taking place, and they are participating in bandit groups on Russian territory. Serikbai Yerimbetov, attorney general for Mangistau region, which includes Novy Uzen, at the time said that he could find no reason to begin an investigation. According to him, this was an isolated incident. Journalists from the local newspaper 'Lada' did not agree, however, and conducted their own investigation: they demonstrated a well-established system of training rebels and getting them into Russia.

They did not recruit just five Kazakhs, as the government assures us, but many more, the newspaper wrote. One of them recently miraculously escaped from the Caucasus with the help of a good Azerbaijani, who bought him a ticket home. Buthow many of our guys are there, brainwashed by all sorts of so-called (Islamic) missionaries, nobody knows.

Parents of militants killed in Agachaul, Ibadulla Ismagulov, whose two sons Elias and Kairat were killed, and Zhanetta Tokpanova, whose son Kairat was killed, decided to demand justice and to force the local authorities cease stonewalling the issue. Kazakhstan newspapers have published articles on the terrorist bases, huge armories, and large sums that militants and their financiers spend to bribe Kazakh officials. Kazakhstan is silent, and the (Kazakhstan) National Security Committee is silent, Tokpanova told journalists from the newspaper 'Lada'. We couldn't save our children, we overlooked them, but we can help to save others who are duped and deceived, who are promised big money by Dagestanis.

After the killing of the Kazakh militants in Dagestan, the chairman of the Russian Audit Chamber, Sergei Stepashin, who was there on a visit, remarked: Eight villains were destroyed, six (actually five of them. Ed.) were, unfortunately, citizens of Kazakhstan. Thisis already no longer an internal problem, and one of foreign policy. The problem, truly, is not only one of foreign policy, but also one that is very unpleasant for the authorities in Kazakhstan, which is considered a strategic partner of Russia. Thecountry has appropriate agreements with Russia in the joint fight against extremism. Nevertheless, at a foreign policy level, the problem is only just now being addressed. Asource told 'Nasha Versiya', that the FSB and the NSC of Kazakhstan have formed a special unit to identify and destroy militant bases in western Kazakhstan. Thetiming of the active phase of operations is in March-April thisyear.

The chairman of the Muslim Union of Kazakhstan, Murat Telibekov, believes that concerns by the security agencies about a Dagestani factor in Western Kazakhstan are reasonable: There really are people who have sought refuge there, they have defamed Islam and taken up arms against their brothers in Russia, forgetting that our religion teaches love and tolerance of one's neighbors.

In 'Versiya', 28/02/2011

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