News / Europe

FBI Probes Exiled Chechen Rebel for Link to Bombing Suspect

Boston Bombing Suspect's Contacts With Chechens in USi
X
May 16, 2013 1:23 AM
Federal investigators have learned that the main suspect in last month’s Boston Marathon bombing met with an exiled former Chechen resistance fighter in Manchester, New Hampshire less than a month before carrying out the attack that killed three and wounded more than 260.
Boston Bombing Suspect's Contacts With Chechens in US
Fatima Tlisova
Federal investigators have learned that the main suspect in last month’s Boston Marathon bombing met with an exiled former Chechen rebel fighter in Manchester, New Hampshire less than a month before carrying out the attack that killed three and wounded more than 260.

Police in Manchester confirmed to VOA that FBI agents have searched the home of the former Chechen resistance figure, Musa Khadjimuradov, and examined the hard drives of his computers. Khadjimuradov confirmed to VOA that FBI agents came to his home on Tuesday with search warrants and also took a sample of his DNA and impressions of his fingerprints.  

Khadjimuradov also said he had had repeated contacts over the past several years with Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, the Boston bombing suspect who was killed in a shootout with police April 19. Tsarnaev’s brother, Dzhokhar, 19, was captured by police later that day.
 
Police charged both Tsarnaev brothers in the April 15 Boston Marathon bombing case after identifying them on video tapes taken at  the explosion sites near the finish line of the race.

According to Khadjimuradov, the FBI first interviewed him about the case on April 29. He said FBI and Homeland Security agents had been in frequent contact with him ever since.
 
Tuesday’s FBI visit
 
He said the agents showed up on Tuesday with search warrants and began asking him about Tamerlan Tsarnaev practicing marksmanship at a Manchester shooting range (http://www.gunsnh.com/index.php), and buying large quantities of fireworks last February at a fireworks store in Seabrook, New Hampshire, about an hour’s drive away from Manchester.
 
The FBI has said its tests on the Boston bombing debris determined that the devices used explosives extracted from commercially available fireworks. According to the FBI, Tsarnaev bought $200 fireworks kit at the Seabrook store last Feb. 6, containing 24 black powder packed shells. The FBI report said the store gave him another similar kit for free as a purchase bonus.
 
“They [the FBI agents] saying he [Tsarnaev] has a shooting practice here in New Hampshire, like two or three times,” Khadjimuradov said. “So he buy fireworks here from New Hampshire, you know, and he buy some ammunition rounds here in New Hampshire. And before the attack, like three or four weeks, came to my house, so now I believe they thinking like he [was] up in New Hampshire [and] like I tried to help him or do something, you know, like that.”
 
Khadjimuradov came to the United States from Chechnya in 2004 under the auspices of the United Nations refugee program. He is paralyzed from the waist down from gunshot wounds suffered in Chechnya in 2001 and uses a wheelchair to get around.  
 
According to Khadjimuradov, he first met Tamerlan Tsarnaev in 2006 at the annual gathering of the Chechen Society of Boston. He said Tsarnaev subsequently visited him three times in Manchester, the last time with his American wife, Katherine, and their young child.

He said he and Tamerlan never discussed Tsarnaev’s fervent embrace of Islam, the cause of Chechen independence from Russia or politics of any kind.
 
“Nothing, never. He never talked about the religious, politics or anything like that to me,” Khadjimuradov said.
 
Russia’s interest in the case
 
During one visit in the summer of 2012, he said Tamerlan told him of his six month stay in his native Dagestan the first half of that year. The Dagestan visit has been the subject of intense interest to U.S. and Russian investigators, who have been trying to find out if Tsarnaev had dealings with Chechen rebels while there.
 
Even before Tsarnaev’s trip to Dagestan in the first half of last year, Russia’s FSB intelligence agency had contacted both the FBI and CIA inquiring about him and warning that Tsarnaev might try “to join unspecified underground groups” if he visited the Caucasus region.
 
Though Khadjimuradov said the FBI agents told him he was not a suspect in the Boston bombing case, he said he believed their intensified interest in him stemmed from his own background in the separatist cause back in his Chechnya homeland as well as Russia’s interest in the case.
 
Before leaving Chechnya in 2004, Khadjimuradov was an aide to one of the most prominent leaders of the Chechen separatist movement, Akhmed Zakayev, who now lives in exile in London. Moscow considers Zakayev a war criminal and has asked for his extradition, but Britain has refused.
 
“Zakayev is first on the FSB black list for assassination, so now they try to get to him by labeling him a terrorist,” Khadjimuradov speculated.

VOA's Brian Padden contributed to this report. 

(In an earlier version of this story the city of Seabrook, New Hampshire was incorrectly identified as Seabook.)

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Amy from: Chicago
May 16, 2013 4:40 PM
How much do you want to bet this guy in on public assistance as well?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs