Circling the Lion's Den

The terrorist attack on the Baksan Hydropower Plant

On July 22, 2010 armed militants have stormed the Baksan hydroelectric power plant in the republic of Kabardino-Balkaria republic (the North Caucasus). State-owned firm RusHydro, which runs the power station, said in a statement on its website that explosions had hit the plant at 0525 local time (0125 GMT). According to police report, two cars carrying half a dozen assailants had attacked the plant, shooting two guards and wounding three other people.

"At about 4 a.m., perpetrators wearing masks penetrated inside the station and tied their hands with tape," Valery Shogenov, the hydroelectric station's manager, told Russian state television on the backdrop of his plant still smoking later this day. "But the operators managed to finally free themselves from the tape and call us about the accident," he said.

The militants killed security guards and set explosive devices in the main generator hall. The attackers detonated four explosive devices in the 25-megawatt plant on the Baksan river, but a fifth failed to go off. The explosions damaged the plant’s generators and other technical equipment. The plant has ceased operations and electric energy is being channelled to consumers from other substations.

Investigators said two explosions shook the plant's turbine room and another two hit the transformer vault.

The attackers reportedly seized two Kalashnikov assault rifles from the dead guards. The same group are believed to have earlier opened fire on a police station in the town of Baksan.

The special crisis center of the republic's law enforcement agencies said three to five people were behind the attack.

The Baksan hydroelectric plant was built in 1936. It was the first time in the country's history that a power plant was attacked by terrorists.

Sources:

  • BBC
  • CNN