The police and the Federal Security Service (FSB) Department for the Voronezh region /center of the European part of Russia/ acting together have staved off a terrorist attack prepared by Chechen militants, reported Pavel Bolshunov, the head of the Public Relations Group of the FSB Dept.
The law enforcers arrested one Khanpasha Israilov, a Chechen resident of Grozny and a member of an illegal armed unit, who turned out to have been instructed to blow up one of the city's cultural and leisure time establishments, probably a movie house or an open air market near the Voronezh-Kursky railway station.
Arriving in Voronezh on a Makhachkala-Moscow train, the militant was to meet three Wahhabis - an Arab and two Chechens - who would have provided him with explosives, instructions and all necessary information, said Bolshunov.
According to his account, the arrestee was planning to study the situation, rent a flat in downtown Voronezh, draw up a plan of the terrorist act, and wait for further instructions. His instructors, in the meantime, had worked out a plan of their emissary's retreat after the terrorist act, which included such provisions as route, traveling expenses, and money to bribe police officers in case of arrest or document check, reported Bolshunov.
The arrestee, a sniper who had been trained by Arab, Afghan and Turkish specialists in a militant camp and taught to plant bombs, recruit accomplices and fight hand to hand without rules, turned out an interesting object for the special services, who established that he had been involved in the kidnapping of the Russian president's plenipotentiary to Chechnya, General Gennady Shpigun, as well as in slave trade and Sept. 1999 military action in the villages of Kara-makhi and Chaban-makhi, Dagestan's Novolakskoye district, during which he had been wounded, said Bolshunov.
Once the terrorist act plans flopped, Israilov sold his weapons, destroyed the papers and moved to Saratov, Volga area, where he joined a group of ex-Chechen militants involved in drug-trafficking and illegal arms trade.
Israilov told the law enforcers he had been ordered to organize the terrorist attack in Voronezh by Dzhabrail Abdulazimov, the leader of the so-called Saratov Group, who was also arrested and testified to having acted on the instructions of field commander Ruslan Chitigov.
Once in Saratov, Israilov was shown the photographs of people who were to give him final instructions and told the password.
Bolshunov said the law enforcers had a videotape containing the testimony of the arrestee.
As of today, Israilov has been convoyed to Makhachkala, Dagestan, where he faces charges of participating in the activities of an illegal armed unit and illegal purchase, storage, and carriage of arms, explosives, and ammunition.
The investigation is handled by the Chief Department of the Prosecutor-General's Office in the North Caucasus, said Bolshunov.