Publication: Monitor Volume: 5 Issue: 22

In Chechnya Salman Raduev, who heads the so-called Army of General Dudaev, warned all the countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States that his units “will carry out operations in any place” where Abdullah Ocalan, head of Kurdish Workers Party (PKK), may be hiding. The goal, Raduev said, is to capture Ocalan and hand him over to the Turkish authorities. Ocalan is reportedly probably hiding out in the disputed enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh.

According to a statement Raduev’s group released in Djohar on January 29, the Turkish nationalist organization, the “Grey Wolves,” appealed to the Army of General Dudaev for help in finding Odjallan. The statement claims that “the bandit activity of Odjallan and the Kurdish Workers Party which he heads has nothing in common with a national liberation movement and is instigated by the Russian special services” (Russian agencies, January 29; Nezavisimaya gazeta, January 30). The appeal from the Grey Wolves to their Chechen allies, however, apparently took too long to arrive. On his reported way to Rome, Ocalan did pass through the Commonwealth of Independent States: The Kurds admit that he passed through Moscow, where his jet made a stop; after that, according to “Kommersant daily,” he went to Nagorno Karabakh.

Turkish media, however, reported on January 28 that Ocalan is now in a Middle Eastern country. In any case, the Turkish special services are searching for signs of him in Lebanon and Iraq (Kommersant daily, January 30). Meanwhile, Raduev’s health has gotten much worse. Six weeks ago, Raduev had an operation to remove the titanium plates he received after being wounded in the head in 1996. The operation was not entirely successful, resulting in hemorrhaging which doctors were unable to stop. Now his entourage is planning to send him for treatment in the Baltics or in an Islamic country. It is possible, according to a newspaper report, that the Kurds, as a response in kind, will announce a search for Raduev, with the aim of handing him over to the Russian authorities, who have an outstanding warrant for his arrest on charges of terrorism (Kommersant daily, January 30).