News / Europe

Moscow Airport Bomber from Russia's Muslim South

Multimedia

Audio
James Brooke

Russian news agencies report that the suicide bomber at Moscow's airport was from Ingushetia, one of Russia's three so-called Green Republics, where Islamic extremists seek to impose Sharia law.

Citing security officials, Russian news agencies report that Magomed Yevloyev, 20, a resident of Ingushetia, set off the massive bomb that killed 36 people and wounded 168 at Moscow's busiest airport.

Russian security officials have not publicly released the identity of the suicide bomber. Russian reporters who visited Yevkoyev's home village reported that the young man had disappeared last August.  They said that last week security officials interviewed his parents, a school teacher and a retiree, and took DNA samples.

Alexander Bortnikov, the head of the Federal Security Service, said Thursday that tests of the bomber's remains showed that he was heavily drugged.  In a televised meeting with President Dmitry Medvedev, Bortnikov said: "A huge amount of highly potent narcotic and psychotropic substances in parts of the suicide bomber's body"

He added that police detained several suspects who have information about the airport bombing and a separate attempt to set off a bomb amidst crowds of revelers on Moscow's Red Square on New Year's Eve.

The Ingush connection came days after the Republic's President Yunus-Bek Yevkurov told visiting reporters that terrorism was down in the republic, part of Russia's predominantly Islamic Caucasus region.

The president, the victim of a car bombing 18 months ago, said that terror attacks were down in the republic. He cautioned that it was too early to claim victory.  He estimated that the number of active rebels in the republic had dwindled to 30.

Ingushetia's prosecutor Yuri Turigin agreed.  After reeling off statistics that indicated an improvement, he added that there was a significant drop in young men "going into the forest," as joining the insurgency is called here.

But in face of this cautious optimism, police on Thursday discovered a bomb making factory, only 10 kilometers from Ingushetia's highly guarded administrative center.

Also on Thursday, the Kremlin's top envoy to the Caucasus, Alexander Khloponin, warned that average age of young men joining the insurgency has dropped to 18. Easy recruits for extremism, these men graduate from high school and face the choice of fighting for a job in local economies where the unemployment rate is often 50 percent, or migrating to central Russia where police harassment of labor migrants from the Caucasus is common.

Slide show reflecting on the culture of Ingushetia Republic

Khloponin, sometimes called Moscow's viceroy for the Caucasus, estimated that there are now about 1,000 active rebels operating in a region about the size of Greece.

Hours after he spoke, armed men in one part of the Caucasus ambushed a police convoy, killed three policemen and freed a prisoner.  In a nearby region, gunmen invaded a café and shot four traffic policemen dead.

Tamerlan Akiev, head of the Memorial human rights office in Ingushetia, said that young people in the Caucasus are easy recruits for the violence.  Without jobs or marriage prospects, they fall prey to the call of creating an Islamic emirate under Sharia law.

To preempt the fundamentalists, Caucasus leaders are adopting increasingly austere rules.  On Thursday, Chechnya's mufti, or spiritual leader, called on women to wear modest dress in public.  He defined this as dressing where only the hands and face are visible.

With head scarves common and alcohol bans in place, a cultural divide is growing between Russia's Slavic Christian core and the 'Green Republics' on the nation's southern edge.

Last month, the Levada center conducted a nationwide poll of Russian public.  Taken before the January 24 airport bombing, the poll found that Chechen militants topped the United States and NATO as the top threat held by Russians.

Almost half of respondents supported the slogan "Russia for Russians," a code phrase for curbing labor migrants from the Islamic south.

In Ingushetia, Ramzan Ugurchiev worries that Russians are demonizing the Caucasus. As a leader of the republic's youth parliament, he fears that, in an election year, the Kremlin is letting Russia's nationalist genie out of the bottle.

He says that politicians are courting votes by blaming all of Russia's problems on the Caucasus. One year from now, when Russia's parliamentary and presidential elections are behind us, he says, it may be hard to bind together again Russia's Christian North and its Muslim South.

You May Like

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

Secret Service Chief Under Fire for White House Security Breach

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after recent intrusion at White House, says: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid