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Russia's Most Wanted Militant Leader Reported Dead

  • VOA News

FILE - In this screen shot taken in Moscow shows an undated photo of a man identified as Chechen separatist leader Doku Umarov, posted on the site.
The leader of Islamist rebel forces in Russia's North Caucasus region has been killed, the militants' main mouthpiece reported Tuesday.

In an item posted on the Kavkaz Center website, the Caucasus Emirate jihadist umbrella group announced the "martyrdom" of its leader, Chechen rebel commander Doku Umarov.

It provided no details of where, when or under what circumstances Umarov was killed.

Pro-Moscow Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov said repeatedly over several years that Umarov was probably dead, his most recent claim coming this past January. Kadyrov said Tuesday that the rebels themselves had now proven him right.

Umarov released a video last July threatening to attack to the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia. Those games were held without incident in February.

Kavkaz Center also reported Tuesday that Ali Abu Muhhammad, the Caucasus Emirate's Sharia judge, had been chosen to succeed him as the group's "emir," or leader. The website also posted a video of the new leader commenting on his predecessor and his new position.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.