The Chechen president, Ramzan Kadyrov, in his home village of Tsentoroi. Photograph: Reuters
At least 19 people were killed today after Islamist rebels launched an audacious attack on the heavily defended residence of Chechnya’s pro-Kremlin president, Ramzan Kadyrov.
Chechen officials said that 12 insurgents and two guards were killed after the rebels slipped into Tsentoroi, Kadyrov’s home village, also known as Khosi-Yurt, in the early hours of this morning . Russian TV reported that five civilians had also been killed in fierce fighting.
The main rebel website, www.kavkazcenter.com, claimed 60 “mujahideen” had stormed Kadyrov’s village at 4.30am, destroying two checkpoints and blowing up an armoured personnel carrier. It said five of its fighters from three units were “martyred” during the operation.
TV footage showed a burnt-out car 150 metres from the entrance to Kadyrov’s residence. The rebels claim they carried out a “sweep” of the village, occupying it for one hour, and burning down 10 houses. They also seized ammunition and communications equipment, the website said.