Ingush Authorities Criticized Harshly

Ingush authorities have aggravated a recent surge in violence by using "lawless" tactics to fight Islamic militants, the Memorial rights group said Tuesday.

The group's head, Oleg Orlov, said police and law enforcement agencies have increasingly used kidnappings, unlawful arrests and torture in their crackdown on suspected militants, often deploying mask-wearing officers. Islamic militants, he said, have responded in kind.

"Local authorities and federal law enforcement agencies are to blame for their lawless actions, which provoke violence," Orlov said, as the group released its annual report on Ingushetia. The report said Ingush militants have created an effective network of semiautonomous groups that hunt down soldiers, police and law enforcement officers.

Svetlana Gannushkina, another Memorial activist, blamed some of the violence on a failure of regional officials to listen to the opposition.