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North Caucasus Insurgency Threatens New Attack On Grozny

Firefighters work at a marketplace, which was set on fire after a terrorist attack in Grozny on December 4.
Firefighters work at a marketplace, which was set on fire after a terrorist attack in Grozny on December 4.

The Chechen wing of the North Caucasus insurgency that claimed responsibility for the attack on Grozny on December 4 is planning a follow-up attack on the city to mark the New Year, according to Akhmed Umarov, elder brother of the late Caucasus Emirate founder and head Doku Umarov.

Chechen Republic head Ramzan Kadyrov identified Akhmad Umarov as having organized the December 4 attack, and vowed to seek his extradition from Turkey, where according to Kadyrov he currently lives.

In a 15-minute video clip posted late on December 13 on, the website of the Chechen wing of the North Caucasus insurgency, Akhmed Umarov warned Kadyrov in the name of the Chechen militants that they will launch a new attack on Grozny unless Kadyrov desists from his efforts to block their food supplies. (Two men were apprehended in Chechnya’s Sunzha district in September on suspicion of providing food supplies to the insurgents. Umarov quoted the fighters as admitting that they are experiencing problems in obtaining supplies, and "we are fed up with this."

Speaking in Chechen, Umarov, who was identified as the representative abroad of the Chechen insurgency wing,appealed to the Chechen population to help insurgents' families whose homes Kadyrov's security personnel have deliberately torched in retaliation for the fighting in Grozny, during which at least 14 police were killed and 28 injured.

Umarov further accused Kadyrov of being behind the deaths of his father, Akhmed-hadji Kadyrov, in a terrorist bombing in May 2004, and of his elder brother Zelimkhan, who was found dead at his home, reportedly of heart failure, just weeks later. He did not offer any evidence to substantiate those accusations.

In addition, Umarov warned Kadyrov that many member of his immediate entourage would willingly betray him to the insurgency for money, but "we don’t have the cash to suborn them."

That admission is in stark contrast to the claim by a third Umarov sibling, Vakha, in early 2010. In an interview with Reuters in Istanbul, where he then lived, Vakha Umarov said members of Kadyrov’s entourage channelled money to the insurgency as insurance in the event that the insurgency finally comes to power in Chechnya.

Akhmad Umarov’s attempts to dictate conditions and terms to Kadyrov are totally unrealistic in light of the latter’s pathological enmity towards the insurgency. It is, moreover, odd that Umarov should not be aware of that fact, given that he must have met personally with Kadyrov after reportedly turning himself in in August 2006.

Akhmad Umarov vanished shortly afterwards; it is not known whether he was released (unlikely) or managed to escape, and how and when he left Chechnya.

-- Liz Fuller

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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