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Chechen Leader Says Gakayev Brothers May Have Planned Grozny Bombing


Investigators work at the site of the double explosion in Grozny on August 6.

Investigators work at the site of the double explosion in Grozny on August 6.

Three Russian Interior Ministry servicemen were killed on August 6 and three more injured in a double-bombing close to the entrance of the Russian military base at Khankala on the outskirts of Grozny. Russian law enforcement officials say the first bomb was detonated by a militant who died in the blast, and the second shortly afterward as police and military personnel converged on the scene to investigate.

The perpetrator of the first blast has been identified as a man who had served a prison term for abetting the insurgency and then joined the militants' ranks after his release. He reportedly travelled to the entrance of the base by taxi and waited for approximately 30 minutes, blowing himself up only when a group of military personnel approached. It remains unclear whether the second bomb was detonated by remote control or by a second militant; no fragments of a second body have been reported recovered.

Visiting the site of the blast later the same day, Chechen Republic head Ramzan Kadyrov said the attack might have been the work of the Gakayev brothers, Khusein and Muslim. Khusein Gakayev was one of four senior commanders who split with self-styled Caucasus Emirate head Doku Umarov in August 2010. Senior fighters elected Khusein Gakayev their new leader two months later.

Fighters subordinate to Khusein Gakayev were responsible for the attacks on August 31, 2010, on Kadyrov's home village of Khosi-Yurt (Tsentoroi) and on the Chechen parliament building six weeks later.

The modus operandi of the August 6 bombing was similar to an attack staged by three militants in late August 2011 in which up to 30 security personnel died. Gakayev reaffirmed his loyalty to Umarov a year ago.

Ramzan Kadyrov speaks to new security recruits during an oath-taking ceremony in Grozny on August 5.

Ramzan Kadyrov speaks to new security recruits during an oath-taking ceremony in Grozny on August 5.

Kadyrov has issued orders to security personnel to hunt day and night for the Gakayev brothers. That injunction elicited derisive comments from bloggers who questioned the efficiency of the security forces subordinate to Kadyrov. Ten years ago, observers similarly raised the question how renegade Chechen field commander Shamil Basayev managed to evade capture given the huge number of military and security personnel engaged in trying to track him down.

August 6 is the anniversary of the recapture of Grozny in 1996 by Chechen fighters under the command of Aslan Maskhadov. It is not known whether the Gakayev brothers, now 42 and 39, took part in that operation.

About This Blog

This blog presents analyst Liz Fuller's personal take on events in the region, following on from her work in the "RFE/RL Caucasus Report." It also aims, to borrow a metaphor from Tom de Waal, to act as a smoke detector, focusing attention on potential conflict situations and crises throughout the region. The views are the author's own and do not represent those of RFE/RL.

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