Chechen president Djohar Dudaev’s former aide Hodjahmed Yarihanov said yesterday that Dudaev was killed in a Russian bombing attack during the night of April 21-22 while making a satellite phone call to potential mediators in the Russian-Chechen conflict. Yarihanov further claimed that a military council has elected Dudaev’s vice president, Zelimhan Yandarbiev, as president and called on the Chechen people to rally in continuing the struggle against Russian forces. However, current aides to Dudaev denied the report. Russia’s Defense, Internal Affairs, and Security ministries and agencies, as well as the Russian military command in Chechnya, all disclaimed any knowledge of Dudaev’s death and claimed they were trying to verify the report. Its sole source was Yarihanov until commander Shamil Basayev appeared overnight on Dudaev’s underground TV channel saying that Dudaev was dead and vowing to continue the struggle. (Russian, Western agencies, April 23 & 24)
Kremlin Slams United States for Mideast Peace Effort.