News / Europe

Russia’s Top Terrorist Promises More Bombs for Moscow

People lay flowers as they attend a rally to commemorate the victims of last month's deadly suicide bombing at Moscow's Domodedovo airport, January 27, 2011
People lay flowers as they attend a rally to commemorate the victims of last month's deadly suicide bombing at Moscow's Domodedovo airport, January 27, 2011
TEXT SIZE - +

Russia’s top Islamic fundamentalist warlord is taking credit for the suicide bombing at the international section of Moscow’s busiest airport. 

Wearing military fatigues and a black skull cap, Doku Umarov took credit for the bombing in a video that appeared to be filmed in a tent in southern Russia’s Caucasus region. Umarov promised to continue sending suicide bombers to Moscow until the Caucasus "is Islamic and free."

Coming from this battle-hardened Chechen warlord, these threats may not be idle bluster. Over the last year, he has claimed credit for three bombings in Moscow that have killed a total of 102 people and injured hundreds.

In the video posted Tuesday on the Islamic rebels website, Umarov said he has hundreds of suicide bombers prepared to carry out missions in Russia’s capital.

In this screen shot taken in Moscow, Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2009 a computer screen shows an undated photo of a man identified as Chechen separatist leader Doku Umarov posted on the Kavkazcenter.com site.
In this screen shot taken in Moscow, Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2009 a computer screen shows an undated photo of a man identified as Chechen separatist leader Doku Umarov posted on the Kavkazcenter.com site.
Umarov, a bearded 46-year-old who calls himself the Emir of the Caucasus Emirate, said in heavily accented Russian:  "God willing, these special operations will be carried out in the future There is no doubt of this, as we will have hundreds of brothers who will  be ready to sacrifice themselves.”

Russian terrorism expert Andrei Soldatov says he believes that Umarov will try to deliver on his threat.

"Doku Umarov, despite some dispute in the ranks of militants, is very determined to keep sending people to Moscow," said Soldatov.

He said the rebel understands the power of carrying out actions in Moscow, the nation’s political and media capital.

In the two weeks since the airport bombing, there have been daily attacks on police in the Caucasus. But of more concern to Muscovites, there has been a rash of telephone bomb threats that forced the evacuations of shopping malls and long distance railroad stations.

Umarov referred to actions in Afghanistan and Iraq. Soldatov says he now wants international attention.

"For Doku Umarov, it is clear from his video that for him it is very important to portray himself as one of the leaders of global jihadist movement," he said.

While Umarov promised Muscovites "a year of blood and tears",  Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev seemed to try to shift the media spotlight on Tuesday by firing two generals from the Federal Security Service, the successor agency to the KGB. Since the bombing, about 10 midlevel officials have been fired.

But critics, like Soldatov note that the ax is falling on officials  responsible for transportation security, not on officials responsible for tracking down terrorists. Prime Minister Putin, a KGB veteran himself, conceded last week that Russia had a lot to learn from foreign agencies in counter-terrorism work.

On Tuesday, Alexander Bortnikov, the head of Russia’s security service, briefed members of Russia’s parliament behind closed doors.

Afterwards, Vladimir Vasilyev, the head of parliament's security committee, told reporters that two people have been arrested in connection with the airport bombing. But, speaking on national television, he warned that Muscovites will have to live with the terrorist threat.

All residents of our country need to realize that we will have to live under the threat of terror in Moscow for a long time to come, he said

In a first step, Russian airports are now to be fitted with entry checkpoints with metal detectors and luggage screening systems.  Visitors will have to show a passport or driver's license to enter an airport. Terminals will be fenced off and fitted with surveillance cameras transmitting live feeds to law enforcement agencies.

It is unclear if  such measures will deter Russia’s wily warlord in the woods. The first arrest warrant for Doku Umarov, for murder, was issued in 1992.


James Brooke

A foreign correspondent who has reported from five continents, Brooke, known universally as Jim, is the Voice of America bureau chief for Russia and former Soviet Union countries. From his base in Moscow, Jim roams Russia and Russia’s southern neighbors.

You May Like

Photogallery Pope's Easter Prayer: Peace in Ukraine, Syria

Pontiff also calls for end to terrorist acts in Nigeria, violence in Iraq, and success in peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians More

Abdullah Holds Lead in Afghan Presidential Election

Country's Election Commission says that with half of the ballots counted, former FM remains in the lead with 44 percent of the vote More

Russia-Ukraine Crisis Could Trigger Cyber War

As tensions between Kyiv and Moscow escalate, so too has frequency of online attacks targeting government, news and financial sites 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.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid