Counter-Terrorism Operation in Ingushetia: A Risk Assessment

Kavkaz Files ISSN 2975-0474 Volume 21 Issue 1
Author: Giuliano Bifolchi

FSB special forces’ counter-terrorism operation in Ingushetia stressed Russia’s readiness and strategy to counter the terrorist threat and jihadist propaganda’s impact in those regions as the North Caucasus mainly inhabited by Muslims.

Comparing the current situation with the past, Moscow has increased North Caucasus’ regional security thanks to counter-terrorism operations and a socioeconomic development strategy which simultaneously contrasted jihadist propaganda and activities and created new working opportunities for the local population.

While the current situation in North Caucasus is under Russian control and the regional risk has decreased compared to previous years, there is still a persistent terrorist threat posed by both local citizens and foreign migrants.

The Counter-Terrorism Operation in Karabulak

On March 2nd, 2024, FSB special forces conducted an operation in the city of Karabulak in Ingushetia to arrest/eliminate a group of six peoples accused of being connected with a terrorist organisation.

According to the Russian National Anti-Terrorism Committee (NAK), when FSB special forces attempted to arrest these people, they opened fire to law enforcement officers. At night, during a shootout, a fire started in the house, and the suspects tried to move to another floor. Law enforcement officers neutralised all six suspects during the counter-terrorism operation on March 3rd, 2024.

According to Russian official sources, the suspects were adherents of the Islamic State and were involved in committing several terrorist crimes, including an attack on a traffic police post and the murder of three police officers in March 2023. Three of them, including the gang leader, were on the federal wanted list.

There were no casualties among law enforcement officers or civilians. During the inspection of the clash site, the authorities discovered automatic weapons, ammunition, grenades, and an improvised explosive device.

Ingushetia: Terrorist Threat in 2023

In 2023, even though the number of victims because of violent and terrorist attacks was low, Ingushetia appeared to be one of the Northern Caucasian republics mostly affected by this phenomenon.

Here is a list of violent events concerning the Republic of Ingushetia in the last year:

  • March 28th, 2023. During the night, an armed attack carried out on the Volga-24 traffic police post at the Ingushetia-North Ossetia border injured two security officials. One of the alleged attackers, Ramazan Eldiev, was found dead in Karabulak. The man died from a gunshot wound on the night of March 28.
  • April 3rd, 2023. On a farm in Malgobek, security forces discovered a group of alleged participants in an attack on a traffic police post, but the suspects opened fire on the security forces, wounded one of them, and fled. At 20.00 Moscow time on April 3rd, 2023, the authorities announced a counter-terrorist operation regime in the Malgobek region of Ingushetia.
  • April 5th, 2023. On the evening, in the village of Zyazikov-Yurt, during a counter-terrorism operation, security forces discovered a group of suspected militants. When trying to arrest them, they opened fire and killed three police officers and injured eight more security forces. Also on April 5th, 2023, authorities discovered the body of Movsar Kottoev, who was wanted in connection with an attack on a traffic police post.
  • November 22nd, 2023. Security forces, during operational search activities as part of the counter-terrorism operation in Sunzha, killed a man who opened fire on them. The shootout occurred in a house on Pavlova Street. During operational search activities as part of the counter-terrorism operation in Sunzha, security forces killed a man who opened fire on them. Authorities suspected the victim of aiding Amirkhan Gurazhev and Adam Ozdoev, who were wanted after the attack on a traffic police post on the border of Ingushetia and North Ossetia.
  • December 5th, 2023. Following a reported shooting incident involving two vehicles in the Sunzhensky district, law enforcement apprehended two individuals. During the arrest, authorities discovered a modified traumatic pistol, masks with openings, two knives, a flash-noise grenade, two walkie-talkies, and small arms ammunition.

Read also | Imarat Kavkaz’s Supporter Arrested in Ingushetia: Is the Caucasus Emirate Still a Threat in the North Caucasus?

Risk Assessment

Recent FSB special forces’ counter-terrorism operations highlight Russia’s ongoing commitment to addressing the terrorist threat in the North Caucasus region.

The successful neutralisation of these suspects underscores Moscow’s determination to counter jihadist propaganda and activities within the predominantly Muslim North Caucasus. Despite the current situation being under control, the persistent threat from both local citizens and foreign migrants necessitates sustained vigilance and proactive counter-terrorism measures in the region.

Indeed, the Islamic State’s propaganda is still a menace for Russia and can influence young generations in the Muslim community. In 2023, Ingushetia experienced violent and terrorist activities, making it one of the Northern Caucasian republics most affected by such incidents.

A series of attacks on law enforcement and security officials, including the assault on a traffic police post and the subsequent murders of police officers, underscored the gravity of the situation.

Not only the Islamic State but also Imarat Kavkaz (Caucasus Emirate) might threaten the Republic of Ingushetia. In November 2023, Russian FSB employees arrested 23-year-old Salaudin Azhigov, accused of distributing information on VKontakte justifying the activities of the Caucasus Emirate.

Despite a noticeable enhancement in the security situation over the past decade, as showed by the minimal occurrence of violent attacks in 2023, the allure of jihadist propaganda linked to the Islamic State and the Caucasus Emirate emphasises its capacity to attract backing from certain segments of the North Caucasian populace.

The presence of North Caucasian volunteer battalions in Ukraine, engaged in fighting against Russian armed forces, adds a dynamic factor to the security landscape.

If Moscow cannot maintain regional development and security through its security forces, along with the increasing presence of North Caucasus volunteer battalions in Ukraine, there is a real possibility that terrorist organisations could regain strength and become a regional menace.

For those with an interest in acquiring comprehensive insights into the geopolitical dynamics of Ingushetia and the North Caucasus, we encourage you to reach out to our team by emailing We are ready to help you assess the opportunity to obtain a meticulously crafted and specialised report tailored to your intelligence needs.

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