Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 6 Issue: 19

Gen.-Major Ilya Shabalkin, spokesman for the Russian military operation in the North Caucasus, reported on May 17 that security services had killed Alash Daudov, the second-ranking rebel leader, behind Shamil Basaev. According to the Associated Press, Daudov was among three suspected militants killed in an abandoned house on the southern outskirts of Grozny after they tried to flee and opened fire on security services raiding the building. Shabalkin said Daudov was planning “a series of terrorist acts using strong poisons” and doing so on the orders of Abu Mudjaid, a Jordanian who allegedly organized a shipment of toxic substances to Chechnya from outside Russia. Shabalkin also claimed that electronic equipment for uncovering listening devices produced in an Arab country was found among Daudov’s things. While he did not name the country putatively involved, Shabalkin said the discovery was “the latest evidence of involvement by the intelligence services of certain states” in terrorism aimed against Russia. Earlier this month, the FSB claimed that a specially equipped cache containing a cyanide-based substance imported into Russia from abroad had been found during fighting between federal and rebel forces along the Chechen-Ingush border. According to the FSB, militants belonging to a radical Islamic group currently operating in Ingushetia, the Amanat Jamaat, planned to use the device in attacks in the North Caucasus and elsewhere in Russia (see Chechnya Weekly, May 11).

Shabalkin also reported that security forces had killed a Kuwaiti national by the name of Jarah, along with another militant, in the village of Solnechnoe in Dagestan’s Khasavyurt district, RIA Novosti and Interfax reported on May 17. According to Shabalkin, Jarah was among the Arab fighters who went to Chechnya with Khattab in the mid-1990s. Shabalkin claimed these Arab fighters were members of the Muslim Brotherhood and that Jarah was an al-Qaeda emissary in Chechnya. RIA Novosti quoted an unnamed Russian military source as saying that Jarah had been trained in terrorist training camps in Afghanistan and was a specialist in the use of explosives and poisons. He later became a trainer of terrorists, including female suicide bombers, according to the source. The source also claimed that Jarah had, “with the connivance of the Georgian authorities,” hidden out in Georgia’s Pankisi Gorge and in Azerbaijan, and had regularly received “large sums of money from foreign terrorist centers.”

There is no way of independently verifying these claims.

On May 15, Shabalkin reported that FSB and Interior Ministry forces had killed the so-called “Emir” of Chechnya’s Gudermes, Shelkovski and Naursk districts, Denilbek Eskiev. According to Shabalkin, Eskiev was directly subordinated to Shamil Basaev. Utro.ru quoted other sources as saying Eskiev was a close associate of two other field commanders – Rappani Khalilov and Akhmed Avdorkhanov.