December 05, 2014

MOSCOW (AP) — Following a rebel raid that left 25 people dead, Chechnya’s Kremlin-backed strongman said Friday the families of rebels who take part in killings will now be punished by being deported and having their houses destroyed.

Thursday’s clashes in Grozny dented a carefully nurtured image of stability created by Chechnya’s regional leader Ramzan Kadyrov after two separatist conflicts. The violence raised fears of more attacks in Chechnya and widening unrest in the rest of Russia’s volatile North Caucasus region.

Kadyrov, who has relied on his feared security force of former rebels like himself to pacify the province, said he would avenge the deaths of 14 police officers, including his relative, who died in clashes with the Islamic rebels. He said 11 attackers were killed and 36 policemen were wounded. Earlier official reports had said 10 police officers and 10 rebels were killed.

In a message Thursday on his Instagram account, which Kadyrov uses to issue public statements, he said that “the time when they said that parents can’t be held accountable for the action of their sons and daughters has come to an end.”

He warned that a father who sees that his son has joined the rebels should report him to the authorities or stop him by any other means before he spills blood. “If a militant in Chechnya kills a policeman or any other person, the militant’s family will be immediately banished from Chechnya without the right to come back, and their house will be razed to the ground,” Kadyrov said.

He said he wouldn’t care about criticism from rights activists. International human rights groups long have accused Kadyrov of rampant abuses, including arbitrary arrest, torture and extrajudicial killings.

Kadyrov said he also warned local administrators and police officials that they would have to resign if any local man joins the militants.