Cottage in Abduction Case Linked to Army

A cottage in northwest Moscow where an Ingush man was held captive for several days and possibly tortured is the property of the Defense Ministry, an Ingush opposition leader said Friday.

The Ingush captive, Magomed Khamkhoyev, 35, was abducted from his car in southwest Moscow on Sept. 14 and held in the basement of the cottage in a gated community in the Serebryany Bor area of northwest Moscow before he managed to escape last week.

Magomed Khazbiyev, an Ingush opposition leader, said he visited the cottage along with police following Khamkhoyev's escape. After police asked the guards at the gated community who owned the cottage, a military officer arrived on the scene and said it belonged to a military unit of the Defense Ministry, Khazbiyev said. The man introduced himself as Mikhail Nikolayevich Ananyev, a lieutenant colonel in the armed forces, Khazbiyev said. "I didn't see his documents, but I heard him introduce himself," he said.

A relative of Khamkhoyev corroborated this account to Kommersant, which first reported the development Friday.

A spokesman for the Moscow Military District said military officials were attempting to verify the report. No military units are stationed in the Serebryany Bor area, the spokesman said on condition of anonymity, saying he was unauthorized to talk to the media.

Khamkhoyev's bizarre ordeal has prompted a web of conspiracy theories and accusations of foul play against the security services, Ingush President Murat Zyazikov and Ossetian vigilantes.

Kommersant reported Thursday that the assailants had threatened to kill Khamkhoyev as revenge for the 2004 school raid in Beslan, North Ossetia, in which more than 300 people died, many of them children. Many of the attackers were ethnic Ingush.

But Ella Kesayeva, head of Voice of Beslan, a support group formed by relatives of those killed in the attack, has accused the security services of orchestrating abductions of ethnic Ingush people and implicating Ossetian renegades. The goal, Kesayeva said, is to foment tension between Ingush and Ossetians to deflect the attention of Beslan victims, who accuse the Kremlin of botching the rescue operation.

Khamkhoyev's kidnappers spoke Russian and Ossetian, the Ingush opposition web site Ingushetiya.ru reported.

Meanwhile, several members of the Ingush diaspora in Moscow said on condition of anonymity that they believed that North Ossetian authorities or ethnic Ossetians in the military might be involved in the purported abduction of 10 Ingush men in Moscow, including Khamkhoyev. The Investigative Committee has said it was unaware of any abductions other than Khamkhoyev's.

Each of the 10 men that were purportedly abducted were acquainted with Federal Security Service Lieutenant Colonel Alikhan Kalimatov, killed last September in Ingushetia by unidentified assailants, Ingushetiya.ru reported, citing no one. Kalimatov had implicated senior North Ossetian officials in kidnappings, the web site reported.

Khazbiyev accused Zyazikov of ordering Khamkhoyev's abduction. Zyazikov's spokesman, Bers Yevloyev, called the accusation "idiocy not even worth commenting on."