Accessibility links

Breaking News

North Caucasus Insurgency Leader Seeks To 'Prevent Sochi Olympics'

A gold medal manufactured for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi is seen on display at a Moscow jewelery factory on June 28.
A gold medal manufactured for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi is seen on display at a Moscow jewelery factory on June 28.
The leader of an Islamist insurgency in Russia's North Caucasus has called for jihadists to stage attacks against a range of targets that include the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games.

In a video issued on the North Caucasus Islamic insurgency website on July 3, Doku Umarov -- the leader of self-proclaimed independent Islamic state, Imarat Kavkaz (The Caucasus Emirate), called on "all mujahedin fighters in the region and Russia's other subjects not to allow Satanist games to be held on the bones of our ancestors, on the bones of many, many Muslims who died and are buried on our territory along the Black Sea."

President Vladimir Putin's government hopes to turn the 2014 Winter Olympic Games into a showcase for Russia's economic and social advances.

ALSO READ: North Caucasus Insurgency Head Resurfaces

However, Sochi is located in the immediate proximity of Russia's North Caucasus -- an extremely volatile region that has witnessed two post-Soviet wars in Chechnya and daily violence in republics such as Daghestan, Ingushetia, and Kabardino-Balkaria.

The Russian authorities ordered exitra security for the Sochi games after the April Boston Marathon bombings that were blamed on two ethnic Chechen brothers, Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who spent parts of their lives in Central Asia and Russia's North Caucasus.

Umarov also stated in his latest video that "infidels are holding pagan events on the lands of Muslims ignoring our Islamic values and laws," particularly citing the 27th Summer Universiade that starts on July 6 in Kazan, the capital of Russia's republic of Tatarstan.

Umarov has been viewed as Moscow's enemy number one since he took charge of the Islamic insurgency which continues to stage attacks against Russian targets and fight federal troops in periodic skirmishes.

Umarov was pronounced dead by the Russian authorities on many occasions only to resurface again in videos that claim particularly brutal attacks.

Umarov has assumed responsibility for strikes such as the 2010 Moscow metro bombings that killed more than 40 people and the 2011 Domodedovo Airport attack in the capital in which 37 people died.

Umarov also said in his July 3 video that he lifts his earlier announced moratorium on all "jihadist" operations in Russia as the Kremlin "apparently considered our good will as our weakness."

Based on reporting by AFP and RFE/RL

RFE/RL has been declared an "undesirable organization" by the Russian government.

If you are in Russia or the Russia-controlled parts of Ukraine and hold a Russian passport or are a stateless person residing permanently in Russia or the Russia-controlled parts of Ukraine, please note that you could face fines or imprisonment for sharing, liking, commenting on, or saving our content, or for contacting us.

To find out more, click here.