Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov on November 14 called on Chechen rebel leader Dokka Umarov to emerge from the underground and confess before the people. Kommersant on November 15 quoted Kadyrov as saying that if the “seriously ill Umarov” agrees to do so, he can count on “qualified medical help.” The newspaper quoted acquaintances of Umarov as confirming that he is in poor health and claiming that he has gone to a mountain resort in Kabardino-Balkaria to recuperate.
“I emphatically call on Doku Umarov to get on his knees and with tears in his eyes beg the people for forgiveness,” Kadyrov said. In a direct appeal to Umarov, he added, “Your fellow terrorists have run to the West, and I advise you to do the same if you do not have the gumption to kneel before the people.” According to Kommersant, Kadyrov said “not one of the organizers or perpetrators of terrorist acts on the territory of Chechnya remains or will remain unpunished.”
Turning to the subject of Umarov’s health, Kadyrov said: “I have reliable information that Umarov is seriously ill; that he doesn’t have a single tooth in his mouth; that his legs are rotting from the cold. The winter will be cold; he will not survive it.”If Umarov comes out from underground, he can count on medical help and even qualify as an invalid, Kadyrov said. “Maybe he’ll be given the status of and an invalid of the first or second group and a court will determine at which ([prison)] colony it will be better for him to live out his day rather than rot in the mountains,” Kadyrov said.
Kommersant quoted Radio Liberty correspondent Andrei Babitsky as saying that Umarov indeed has health problems. “In one of the armed clashes shrapnel destroyed his ([lower)] jaw, and now he has an artificial one,” he told the newspaper. “Besides that, his leg was injured in a mine explosion.” Babitsky said that Umarov has had access to medical help. “Umarov, as far as I know, is now located not on Chechnya, but in Kabardino-Balkaria,” he said. “Their ([the rebels’)] bases there have both medicine and good doctors.”
The Latvian newspaper “Chas” reported on November 9 that members of the Russian army’s recently-formed 34th motorized rifle mountain brigade were searching for Umarov in Kabardino-Balkaria, and that Umarov and members of his “gang” are suspected of being behind the murder of nine hunters and forest rangers murdered in Kabardino-Balkaria. Authorities believe the victims were killed after coming across a group of militants (Chechnya Weekly, November 8).