Maskhadov's successor opened a revenge front

Terrorists were planning to launch attacks by using specially trained female suicide bombers

Following the official announcement about the deaths of former vice president of an unrecognized Ichkeria Vakha Arsanov and three more terrorists, Russian security forces dealt another significant blow to Chechen separatists operating outside Chechnya. A group of Wakhabbis was destroyed in the small hours of the morning last Sunday in Karachaevo-Cherkessia (autonomous region). The group had received orders from the separatist commander Shamil Basayev, the terrorist No.1 in the North Caucasus. Six terrorists holed up in an apartment on the third floor of a walk-up apartment building. All of them were killed by Russian security forces. The bodies of two women were found among the dead Wakhabbis, they had been trained for conducting terrorists attacks in the Russian cities.

The operation is regarded as a significant success of the Russian security services, according to a source in the law enforcement agencies of the Southern Federal Region. “We destroyed a group of terrorists that was under command of Achimez Gochiyaev who had been hiding in Georgia for a long time,” says a participant of the operation in Cherkessk. Some reports indicate that the above terrorist responsible for the bombings of Moscow's apartment building in the fall of 1999 is still in Georgia. “Besides, we busted up a laboratory where the terrorists were manufacturing explosives,” says the source.

According to him, the terrorists were planning to launch attacks by using specially trained female suicide bombers, the residents of the city Mineralnye Vody. The women were killed during the operation. Those women were specially trained for suicide attacks. Their relatives believed the women had been kidnapped.

The group was headed by the so-called “emir” of Karachaevo-Cherkessia, Boris (also known as Musa) Semenov. The special police unit also killed Kasim Kicherukov, Timur Kurbanov, and Murad Laipanov during the operation in Cherkessk. Back in Russia, another terrorist began giving evidence with regard to the terrorist attacks in the city of Voronezh. According to prosecutors, the Wakhabis from the jamaat Yarmuk which reports to Shamil Basayev, were behind the bombing campaign on the bus stops in Voronezh. Shamil Basayev was posing in front of TV cameras with a shoulder-held RPG launcher seized during the raid on the unit of State Drug Control in Nalchik last winter when the bandits killed the guards and stole a truckload of weapons.

According to official reports, 13 terrorists were killed and 10 more were captured last week in Chechnya. Lieutenant General Grigory Fomenko, Chechnya's military commandant, says that four major combat operations took place in the republic during the above period of time. According to him, the illegal armed groups in Chechnya are virtually decapitated. “Only the isolated groups of rebels operate now in Chechnya, those groups lack coordination in their actions and have no centralized command lines,” says Mr. Fomenko.

Meanwhile, the new president of the self-declared Ichkeria Abdul Khalim Saidullaev said again that hostilities were to be transferred to Russia. He was reportedly elected following the death of Maskhadov. In fact, he was appointed by Basayev. One of the web sites used by extremists posted the news about the formation of a unified “Caucasian Front of Ichkeria” headed by one Abu Muslim. The terrorists included the following in the so-called “sectors”: Krasnodar region, Adygei region, Stavropol region, Karachaevo-Cherkessia, Ingushetia and Ossetia, and Kabardino-Balkar Autonomous Republic. Akhmed Avdorkhanov was appointed commander of the Eastern Front. He is a former chief of security of Maskhadov, recently he also staged a few attacks on Alleroi and Tsentoroi.

Perhaps he is the only leader of the terrorist network with both his name and surname revealed. Others go by nicknames similar to members of the Afghan Taliban. For example, Abdul Rashid is responsible for the Gudermess “sector” while Islams, Akhmads, Abdulas et al were appointed “sector” commanders. The majority of the above belong to a new generation of rebels. These days Basayev has just a handful of fellow fighters who were fighting against the Russian troops and Chechen militia five years ago. Those who fought against Russian in the previous military campaign are mostly gone.

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Author`s name Olga Savka