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Riyadus Salikhiin Claims Responsibility For Moscow Blast


Security officers work at the scene of a small explosion in Moscow on March 9.

Security officers work at the scene of a small explosion in Moscow on March 9.

The North Caucasus insurgency main website www.kavkazcenter.com posted today a claim of responsibility by the Riyadus Salikhiin (RS) suicide brigade for a small explosion on the afternoon on March 9 near a facility in Moscow belonging to the Federal Security Service (FSB).

The statement said the blast was perpetrated on orders from Caucasus Emirate head Doku Umarov in retaliation for "the blowing up by the Federal Security Service, under the pretext of defusing an explosive device, of the homes of fighters' relatives, and for the abduction by the 'black chickens,' Kadyrovtsy, and others under FSB control of fighters' relatives, including under-age children."

The allusions are to the destruction earlier this week in Ingushetia of the homes of two siblings of Ali Taziyev (aka Amir Magas), the Ingush commander betrayed to the FSB and captured in June 2010; the self-styled Black Hawks whose theatrical threats of retribution against insurgents have made them the laughingstock of the Kabardino-Balkaria blogosphere; and the arrest of the 16-year-old brother and 23-year-old sister of Magomed Yevloyev, the young Ingush who perpetrated the suicide bombing at Moscow's Domodedovo airport on January 24.

Yevloyev (nom de guerre Seyfullakh) appears with Umarov and Amir Khamzat, whom Umarov identifies as the commander of the Riyadus Salikhiin suicide squad, in a video clip recorded prior to Yevloyev's departure for Moscow on an unspecified suicide mission. The clip was posted on February 5 on kavkazcenter.com and its sister site, infokavkaz.com. Umarov subsequently explained that he waited to go public with it until investigators had established that the suicide bomber was indeed Yevloyev.

The Riyadus Salikhiin claim of responsibility for the March 9 blast goes on to warn of further attacks "on places where the criminals [meaning members of Russia's various security services] gather," and that it will detonate more explosive devices.

It further warns security services personnel that while they continue to risk their own lives and those of their families carrying out "criminal orders," for which the insurgency will eventually exact revenge, Putin's sparring partner -- meaning Chechen Republic head Ramzan Kadyrov -- "is on the way to becoming a billionaire."

The claim of responsibility did not say that the explosion reportedly caused only minimal damage and injured no one. (The amount of explosive used was said to be 100 grams, compared with 7 kilograms for the Domodedovo bombing.) The blast was nonetheless considered a serious enough occurrence that senior members of the National Antiterrorism Committee, the Investigative Committee, and the Moscow Police Department were immediately dispatched to the scene.

The claim of responsibility sheds no light on the confusion over the current status of Riyadus Salikhiin, specifically, whether it now constitutes two separate battalions under separate leaders, both subordinate to Umarov but operating independently of each other. As noted above, Umarov in January said Amir Khamzat (Aslan Byutukayev), one of his closest associates, is Riyadus Salikhiin's commander. But in October 2010, Israpil Velijanov (Amir Hasan), head of the Daghestan wing of the North Caucasus insurgency, identified a masked fighter named as Essa as Riyadus Salikhiin head and threatened to "perpetrate horrors" on the territory of the Russian Federation.

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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