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Unconfirmed Report: North Caucasus Insurgent Leader Dead


Doku Umarov photographed in 2003

Doku Umarov photographed in 2003

RFE/RL's North Caucasus Service is reporting a claim that Russia's most wanted man -- Islamist insurgent leader Doku Umarov -- has been killed.

There was no way to immediately verify the authenticity of the statement, which was made in a phone call today to RFE/RL by a man identifying himself as a Chechen militant.

The caller said Umarov was killed on March 10 in a gunfight near Arshty, close to Chechnya's border with Ingushetia.

Umarov is the self-proclaimed leader of the "Caucasus Emirate" that has sought to unite militant Islamist groups in Russia's North Caucasus.

There have been frequent previous reports of Umarov's death, all coming from the Russian side.

RFE/RL's North Caucasus Service says this latest claim -- if the source can be verified -- would be the first time militants have said Umarov is dead.

The office of Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov could not confirm the report.
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