First I heard about events in Nalchik about 10 Moscow time (or 8 UK time) on "Echo of Moscow" radio. I thought that it is not very interesting for people there.
What can I say? In Soviet times Kabardino-Balkaria was a calm region with picturesque mountains, ski resorts. There is a good climate, soft winter and not too hot summer. Btw, I know one man (Russian) who lives in Nalchik. The city has mixed population: Russians, Kabardins, Balkars, Armenians and ... God only knows who else.
But now there are some hardcore local Islamists (not too many however). They and Chechen rebels planned to repeat similar action that took place in Ingushetia. But probably they failed.
A part of my mother in law's family came from around here and as stated a friend is currently living in downtown Nalchik. We have other friends from here but have luckily moved away.
There have been checks on all passengers coming in via air. The way my mate got back home was to Min Vody and then military flight into Nalchik. An "aunt-in-law" was there this summer (her husband is buried there) and reported all relatively calm.
Still no joy from mate and email.
I received this mail from Nalchik just now. With a bit of minor editing, I've posted it for comment and that fact that it does not seem to be over yet:
Dear * and *! Thanks a lot for thinking about me and my family.
I woke up today in the morning at 9 o`clock because of horrible sound of grenades explosions and window glass trembling. Guns shots were exactly near my house. I was in panic and then my mother called (she is working today) and said that Nalchik is attacked by fcuking chechens terrorists and there are fighting and battles everywhere in the town. The explosions were so loud and awful that I was crying and so stressed I can describe how. The news don`t tell all the truth, as usual, the situation is more worse in reality. The town is in fire, smoke and there are a lot of victims and serious wounded civil people on the streets. Because nobody knew that it will happen. Everybody left their houses in the morning and went to work and schools and around 9-10 o`clock in the morning all this fighting started. There are still some police stations occupied by terrorists and there are battles. I can hear gun-shots and explosions straight now, that`s 400 meters from my home. But we are safe in our flats. My mother is working until next morning, but my father and Maria are at home with me.
I definitely need to leave this bloody place as soon as possible.
Two my friends were under the bulits today in the morning, one girl is still in shok, she was so scared that she still crying and can`t calm down. She went to work and their minibus was shot few times and there were enjered people, she runs away from the bus and was in the centre of fighting. She doesn`t remember how she run away.