An 8 ½-minute video address
by self-styled Caucasus Emirate head Doku Umarov has been posted on YouTube just hours after Chechen Republic head Ramzan Kadyrov told journalists
in Moscow on December 18 that “I officially state that Umarov is long dead.”
Kadyrov has prematurely declared Umarov dead several times before.
The video footage was dated autumn 2013 and shot outdoors. There are still some leaves on the trees visible in the background.
As is the norm in such claps, Umarov is seated in front of the black jihadi banner and flanked by two younger fighters, one of whom he identifies as "Bai-Ali."
Speaking in Chechen, Umarov praises the Gakayev brothers, Khusayn and Muslim, as an example to all fighters.
They were betrayed
to Kadyrov's security forces in January and killed themselves after running out of ammunition in a protracted gun-battle.
He rejected allegations that they were embroiled in a blood feud as false, stressing that "if they punished, shot dead, killed someone, they did so on the basis of Shari'a law."
Umarov similarly praises Jamaleyl Mutaliyev (aka Amir Adam), erstwhile commander of the Ingush insurgency wing, who was killed in a security operation
in Nazran in May 2013, and whom Republic of Ingushetia head Yunus-Bek Yevkurov described
as "Umarov’s right hand."
Mutaliyev had erroneously been reported killed
earlier -- in January 2012.
Umarov characterizes Mutaliyev as an educated man, a university graduate, and a successful businessman, who owned construction companies and a chain of stores.
Umarov had expressed condolences
at the death of all three commanders in a video released in late June.
In his most recent address, Umarov makes no mention of the upcoming Winter Olympic Games in Sochi.
In a video released five months ago
, he had urged fellow fighters to do all in their power to prevent the Games taking place.