The militants penetrated Ingushetia (a Russian republic bordering on Chechnya) from North Ossetia and Chechnya, the Russian President's Plenipotentiary in the Southern Federal District, Vladimir Yakovlev told reporters.
"According to the operational information, they [bandits] entered the republic both from Chechnya and from North Ossetia. Most likely they did it not at one and the same time," the plenipotentiary said.
Late in the evening on Monday, several groups of the militants attacked the buildings of the Ingush Interior Ministry and of the 137th frontier guard unit in Nazran, the township of Karabulak and stanitsa Sleptsovskaya.
The aim of the militants was to intimidate the people and to declare themselves, Yakovlev said. Apparently, the militants tried to prove that if they want they can do everything," the plenipotentiary added.
Quite possible that the militants are short of money, he supposed.
At night, the militants made an attempt to move towards Magas (a new capital of Ingushetia), Vladimir Yakovlev continued. According to the operational data, one of the aims of the militants was to capture buildings, including those belonging to the power structures, the plenipotentiary said.
"However, the militants have failed to capture even a single building," he underscored.
According to the operational information, the militants tried to free their accomplices who are suspected of committing crimes and who are now kept in a pre-trial detention center in Nazran, Yakovlev said. About 50 men are kept there now.
"The attempt failed," the plenipotentiary said.
The plenipotentiary did not exclude that Basayev and Maskhadov (ringleaders of Chechen terrorists) could stand behind the militants' invasion. Speaking about the character of the attack, Yakovlev pointed out that "the attacks were aimed at people working in civil service," Yakovlev said. "The republic has all the necessary forces to rebuff the militants," he added.
He said that at night a decision was taken to send representatives of the plenipotentiary's staff in the Southern Federal District to Ingushetia and North Ossetia. In particular, deputy plenipotentiary Viktor Anpilogov now works in North Ossetia, and Oleg Safonov, the plenipotentiary's aide, works in Ingushetia.
According to Yakovlev, an investigation group is now working in the republic, and Deputy Prosecutor General Sergei Fridinsky has also arrived there.
Vladimir Yakovlev said that, according to the preliminary data, 40 people were killed as a result of the militants' attack in Ingushetia.
According to him, 16 of these 40 are policemen, including acting Interior Minister of Ingushetia Abukar Kostoyev and his aide, five FSB staff members, two people from the Prosecutor's Office and one frontier guard.
President Zyazikov of Ingushetia several times spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin and reported to him about the situation in the republic, Zyazikov told reporters.