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My son, ex-terrorist

Former Caucasian insurgents reintegrate into society

The Republic of Ingushetia is the smallest and youngest of the southern Russian republics. It’s seen several conflicts, anti-terror operations and retaliation in the past 20 years. Terrorists have been fighting to create an Islamic state in the North Caucasus, and young men increasingly find the cause attractive. 

Former insurgents reintegrate into society
Khadishat hadn’t seen her son, Musa, for two years. He ‘went into the woods’ at the age of 18 after watching Islamic videos on the internet and communicating with militants. Now Musa is part of a reintegration programme for former insurgents, while the local police keep a close eye on him.

Some of them follow friends or relatives they look up to; others become radicalised through jihadi videos on social media and the internet. Recruits join the insurgents in their forest hideouts, or how locals call it, ‘going to the woods’. Meanwhile, families pray their sons will stay alive and soon come back. 

Nazran attack 2009
In 2009, one of the worst suicide bombings rocked the republic, when a truck crashed through the gates of the police headquarters in the city of Nazran and blew up near an arms depot. At least 20 people were killed in the blast.

RTD goes to Ingushetia to meet former terrorists and their families, who share their stories of separating and reuniting again. We also hear from those who lost children to ‘the woods’ or in counterinsurgency missions on the side of law enforcement.

Reintegration programme for former insurgents in the North Caucasus
In 2011, Ingushetia introduced a programme designed to reintegrate former members of armed militant groups into society. The rehabilitation requires participants to visit a local mosque.