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Hot September 2012: How it was

The details of the investigation into the suicide bombing in a private house at Moldagulova street, special operations in Kulsary, the attack on officers of the Department of Internal Affairs in Atyrau and special operations in the Koktem residential district were communicated by the head of the operational investigative group of the Department of the National Security Committee in the Atyrau Province, Amangeldy ABULGALIYEV.

Explosionat 94 Moldagulova Street 

“On the 25th of September, 2012, at 94 Moldagulova Street, during the assembly of an improvised explosive device (IED), Nurlybek SAKAUOVA, adherent of Salafism, detonated himself.
During the examination of the scene, three ready-to-use IEDs were found and seized; one of them was an electrical ignition bomb and two were fuse ignition bombs. Components and accessories for the production of explosive devices were also found.

During the verification of Sakauov’s relationships within the operational investigative activities, it was established that he had been a member of a terrorist group, which was formed in January, 2012. This terrorist group bore plans of conducting terrorist acts against law enforcement bodies and special forces. The activities of the group commenced in May 2012, following the arrest of Zharas SUNDETOV.

During the investigation it was established that the terrorist group comprised 26 members, who were Salafi adherents from among the residents of Atyrau and Mangistau Provinces. Initially, they had been divided into two separate groups, led by residents of the town of Kulsary, namely: S.E. and Z.D.

Communication between the groups was maintained through Nurlybek Sakauov.
The members of the SE terrorist group stole cattle and sheep, as well as auto parts in order to finance their operations. Ideological training of the team members was assigned to the A.I., S.S. and T.E. Training in the skills of production and use of improvised incendiary devices was conducted by N. Sakauov.

The preparation

Since May, 2012, the above named persons have undertaken intensive preparation to carry out terrorist attacks, connected with the attacks on the buildings of the DNSC and the DIA in Atyrau and Mangistau Provinces and attempts on the lives of law enforcement officers and special agencies workers.

The members of the terrorist group rented an apartment at the Almagul residential district, house No. 7, where they were taught the skills of producing improvised explosive devices, endangering the lives of residents of the house. Also, members of the group, fearing arrest in Atyrau, travelled to Mangistau Province, where they were also trained in the skills of producing IEDs and applied them by making explosions in the steppe zone.

It was there that two residents of Mangistau Province, namely: I.A. and A.A. became involved in the activity of the group. They were supposed to achieve a particular goal: to carry out terrorist attacks in the buildings of the DIA and the DNSC of the Mangistau Province simultaneous with the terrorist attacks in the city of Atyrau.

It was there that they bought two revolvers, sawed-off air rifle with ammunition, a hunting rifle with cartridges, components and accessories for the manufacture of explosives and explosive devices and hid in the “caches” in ‘arms dumps’ in an open pit near of ​​the village of Kyzyl Tyube.In addition, T.E. acquired firearms, a sawn-off double-barrelled hunting rifle and 50 bullets for it, which he illegally kept at the place of residence of another member of the terrorist group, B.A. at: Atyrau, Transportnaya Street, Koktem residential district.

In search of weapons, members of the terrorist group travelled to Shymkent, but since they could not buy a firearm, they acquired two non-lethal guns instead. A member of the terrorist group, a resident of the village of Miyaly, A.I. acquired a smooth hunting rifle and cartridges. In July 2012, S.E., the head of the terrorist group went to Saudi Arabia with the money collected by the members of his group. From there he intended to travel through a smuggling channel to the Afghan-Pakistan border region or to Syria to join international terrorist organisations in order to learn the skills of terrorist attacks and to establish links with international terrorist organisations with a view to arranging  cooperation on terrorist attacks in the Republic of Kazakhstan.

A gathering in Kulsary

After Sakauov’s self-detonation, on the 7th of September, 2012, during search operations, four members of this group were detained and arrested.

During the search of the place of residence of one of them in Kulsary, components and accessories for the production of explosive devices were found and seized.

Two members of the terrorist groups, K.S. and Z. S., fearing detention and arrest, joined a terrorist group headed by Z.D, recognised him as Amir (commander) and gave an oath of allegiance to him.
On the 7th of September, 2012, the aforementioned persons, hiding from the law enforcement bodies, arrived in Kulsary, where they found shelter in residential district No. 1, in the place of residence of three brothers, who held radical Islamic views. It was there that Z.D. made an offer to the brothers to join his terrorist group. The brothers gave their consent, recognised him as an Amir (commander) and gave him the ‘Bayat’ oath of allegiance.

On the 8th of September, 2012, the above mentioned persons, hiding from the law enforcement bodies, were requested by one of the brothers to go to his apartment at Kulsary, residential district No. 1, Building 22, Apt. 51. Then they purchased components and accessories for the production of explosives in an open market and began to make improvised explosive devices.

On the same day, at the instruction of the Amir, one of the brothers went by train from Kulsary in Mangistau Province, to meet with members of the terrorist group from among the residents of that province, as well as to deliver the hidden weapons, components and accessories for the production of explosives to Kulsary and to collect money for arms and explosives from co-religionists.

On the 9th of September, 2012, a member of a terrorist group, N.K, having taken with him one improvised explosive device in his bag with his personal belongings, left for Atyrau to collect the money for his group from his fellow believers. He intended to use the improvised explosive device against workers of law enforcement bodies and special organs in the event of his arrest.

On the 11th of September, 2012, he was detained in the city of Atyrau near the house No.  5/1 at Karagandinskaya Street, Karaganda. During the examination of his place of temporary residence at that address, the improvised explosive device, which he hadn’t had a chance to use, was discovered in his backpack and subsequently seized.  

Suicide bombers from apartment no. 51

On the 1th of September, 2012, from 9.40 a.m. to 12.20 p.m., six members of the terrorist group were blocked by the workers of law enforcement bodies and special forces at: Kulsary, residential district No. 1, house No. 22, Flat No. 51 (3rd floor).
The members of the terrorist group refused the urges to surrender and carried out armed resistance by activating the improvised explosive devices, attached to their bodies.

The first one to detonate himself, at the instruction of the Amir, was U. E., who was in the flat. He lit the IED, attached to his body, and ran to the balcony, being convinced that the police officers were there. On the balcony, the explosion of the IED occurred, and as a result, U. E. died on the spot.

The next one to run to the balcony with the ignited IED was I.R, who tried to jump off the balcony, but was killed by a sniper shot. After that, there was an explosion of the improvised explosive device, attached to his body.

Then, the Amir’s (commander’s) brother, Z.S., ran out of the apartment into the hallway with the IED ignited; he ran to the 4th floor, where SWAT officers were deployed. On the landing between the 3rd and the 4th floor, the IED exploded, and the suicide bomber died immediately from shrapnel wounds.

The next person to receive the instruction to commit the self-explosion was S.A., but he did not make it out of the apartment, as the IED exploded on him in the hall of the apartment.
Then, K.S. ran to the staircase with his IED on fire. The IED activated in the stairwell of the 3rd floor, and he died on the spot.

The last person to run out of the apartment was the Amir (commander) of the group, Z. D., who detonated his IED on his body in the stairwell: between the third and second floors. Z.D. died on the spot from the shrapnel wounds that he had sustained.

S.A. (Saparov Aldiyar), a member of the group, who detonated himself as the fourth person and was wounded by shrapnel of the improvised explosive device, survived and was hospitalised in the surgical ward of the Zhylyoi City Hospital, where he was given immediate medical attention.

During further search operations, one of the members of the group in the city of Kulsary and three persons in Mangistau Province were arrested.

Attack on the main directorate of internal affairs

On the same day, the 12th of September, 2012, T.E., a member of a terrorist group who was hiding from law enforcement bodies learnt about the suicide bombing of members of the terrorist group in Kulsary. As a result, he engaged three residents of the city of Atyrau in the terrorist group, namely: B.A., S.A .and D.E in his actions. These people produced 25 bottles of an incendiary mixture known  as ‘Molotov cocktail’ (petrol bomb), using as a fuel a mixture of gasoline AI-80 and putting it in glass bottles of 0.5 and 0.33 litres. They used pieces of fabric as a wick, attaching it to the bottles with adhesive tape.

On the 15th of September, 2012, at approximately 00:15 a.m., the aforementioned persons, armed with double-barrelled sawed-off hunting rifles, a gas cylinder pneumatic gun, an axe as well as  knives carried out an armed attack on police patrol, comprising police sergeants T. ZHUMAKAYEV and E. SHUKAYEV who were carrying out maintenance of public order in the Makhambet and Isatai Square. Their goal was to take possession of the sergeants’ service weapons. During the attack, Zhumakayev sustained a gunshot wound, but the wounded sergeant was able to carry out armed resistance and the perpetrators fled the scene.

Then, on the same night, at approximately 00.20 a.m., the same persons committed an armed attack on the Main Directorate of Internal Affairs in the city of Atyrau, an attempt on the lives of law enforcement officers.

The attackers entered the courtyard of the Directorate of Internal Affairs of the city of Atyrau, approached the main entrance of the building and with shouts of ‘Allah Akbar!’ they fired one shot from each hunting rifle toward the police officers who were standing on the porch of the building, and towards soldiers of the military unit No. 5546, who were sitting in the yard. As a result of the shooting, a soldier of the military unit No. 5546, A. Shapovalov was wounded in the left side of his hip, abdomen and chest. After that, the attackers entered the building of the IAD, set a fire in the hall of the first floor by throwing ‘Molotov cocktails’ in it, and fled the scene. The fire in the building was extinguished by the staff of the Main Directorate of Internal Affairs.
After the attack, the above named individuals left the city and headed towards Makhambet Region of Atyrau Province. They hid their vehicle, Daewoo Racer, in a forest belt near the Sbornyi site of the Aktogai village in Makhambet Region, 85 km away from the city of Atyrau, and they took the route Atyrau-Uralsk to return to Atyrau.

As a result of a search operation, on the 20th of September, 2012, it was determined that the aforementioned persons were hiding in allotments at: Atyrau, the residential district Koktem, 37 Transportnaya Street.

A special operation in Koktem 

On the 21st of September, 2012, at 7.00 a.m., during an anti-terrorist operation, the aforementioned persons were blocked at the above named address. They were urged to surrender. However, the hidden members of the terrorist group refused to do so. The measures taken by the negotiators in an attempt to persuade them to surrender proved to be unsuccessful (negotiations with them were carried out over the radio, that the terrorists had stolen during the attack on the Main Directorate of Internal Affairs. – S.T.).

Then, sound and flash grenades as well as tear gas were used. As the tear gas started to take effect, the members of the terrorist group who were hiding in a garden house, ran into the yard and started shooting towards the SWAT officers. Perpetrators were killed by return fire from automatic weapons.

During the examination of the scene, different items of firearms and bladed weapons, as well as ammunition and Molotov cocktails were seized. On the basis of this evidence, criminal cases have been initiated with regard to the terrorist crimes, and 13 members of the terrorist group were detained and arrested. The head of the S.E group., was put on the wanted list. A court warrant for his arrest has been issued, and the investigation is now underway”.

Relatives did not take part in the negotations

The above was the written part of responses, given by Amangeldy Abulgaliyev, who presented  the version of the investigation. He also answered our additional questions verbally.

– Does the threat from the terrorists still exist? What is the probability that the attacks will not recur?
– The recent events have shown us that we cannot relax. Of course, we cannot exclude the possibility.

– How many people with radical religious views are registered in your database?

– This is operational information which I cannot disclose.

– Following the publication of a series of articles outlining the details of the criminal cases and court sentences with regard to these cases in the “AZ’ newspaper, mothers of some convicted terrorists addressed the editorial staff. They argued that even some employees of the NSC did not consider many of their sons as directly responsible for terrorist acts, and that the investigators had been allegedly pressured ‘by their superiors’. Were there such cases indeed?
– No, there were no such cases. These persons were found guilty by a court. The court agreed with the arguments and the evidence, presented by the investigators. Therefore, the things that these relatives say that, supposedly, the perpetrators are not guilty, and so on, are just not true. Nor is the assertion that,, investigators allegedly used illegal methods. There were absolutely no such events, and they can confirm it themselves; no psychological pressure, nor any other [means of persuasion] were used. The suspects cooperated with us of their own free will.

– Do you involve the parents or wives of the terrorists in the negotiations during the special operation?

– In the case of Sergey LEE, for example, both his parents and his wife were involved in the  talks. However, he firmly stated that he would not come out or surrender. In Kulsary, those people were similarly determined to commit suicide bombing attacks.

We have a recording of the negotiations between the terrorists and their wives, when they called and said goodbye to them. During the special operation, we had long discussions with them, but they were not going to surrender, and they ran out one by one, committing self-explosion. And the terrorists did not intend to just blow up themselves, but also the law enforcement workers. Then they would have been regarded as true martyrs, and they would have been guaranteed paradise.

One of them, as you may remember, was wounded, but survived. He told us how they committed self-explosion, how the Amir (commander) instructed who should go and when, etc. Also, one of the members of the group, whom they had sent to get the money, was arrested, and an explosive device was seized. I shall repeat: there are records of telephone conversations in which they were bidding their wives farewell. All this data show that each of the terrorists had an explosive device on him.In Kulsary and in the Koktem residential district, relatives were not involved in negotiations