MAGAS, Ingushetia -- Police in Ingushetia have announced that Aleksandr Tikhomirov, better known as Islamic insurgent leader Said Buryatsky, has been killed in Ingushetia, RFE/RL's North Caucasus Service reports.
Officials said on March 4 they believe Buryatsky, one of the most notorious ideologues of the insurgency in the North Caucasus, was one of six militants killed during a special operation near the village of Ekazhevo, outside the capital Magas, on March 2. They said official confirmation will come after further forensic tests are done in Rostov-na-Donu.
Tikhomirov was born in Buryatia, a Russian republic in eastern Siberia, in 1982. He converted to Islam at the age of 15 and received his religious education in Egypt. Buryatsky became one of the most prominent preachers of Salafism, an austere form of Islam, after his return to Russia from Egypt.
In June 2008, he joined the militant Islamic insurgency in the Caucasus. He quickly became a leader in the insurgency and gained many supporters in a short period of time.
One week after the suicide car-bomb attack on the Ingushetian Interior Ministry in August, a website affiliated with local militant groups (hunafa.com) posted footage of Buryatsky riding in a car with a barrel laden with explosives. He said he was preparing to commit an act of terrorism. Although it was assumed that he died in the car bombing, it was never confirmed.
Several analysts are cautious about the report of Buryatsky's death, noting that renegade Chechen field commander Shamil Basayev was reported dead at least six times before he was finally killed, and that Chechen Republic head Ramzan Kadyrov has announced the death of self-proclaimed North Caucasus emir Doku Umarov at least three times, though his death has also not been confirmed.