Russia Says it Killed “al-Qaeda” Emissary in North Caucasus

Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 12 Issue: 8

The National Anti-Terrorist Committee (NAK) announced today (April 22) that among the militants killed yesterday (April 21) in a shootout with security forces near the village of Serzhen-Yurt in Chechnya’s Shali district was a Saudi national known by the nom de guerre Moganned who, according to the committee, was al-Qaeda’s “emissary” in the North Caucasus. NAK spokesman Nikolai Sintsov said that Moganned was the “guarantor” of financing for the “terrorist underground” in the North Caucasus from abroad. He said that Moganned had been in the North Caucasus since 1999 after he arrived in Chechnya from Georgia’s Pankisi Gorge to join the group headed by Khattab, the Saudi-born field commander of North Caucasus militants killed in 2002.

Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov said that the killing of Moganned was a “serious blow” to the rebels in the North Caucasus. Kadyrov also said that according to information from law-enforcement agencies, Moganned had earlier in life served as a pilot in the military of a Middle Eastern country and had studied in the United States. The Chechen leader said that that the body of another militant, a native of Ingushetia, was found at the site of the shootout near Serzhen-Yurt (, April 22).

Chechnya’s interior ministry said today that they discovered three arms caches in the republic’s Shatoi and Achkhoi-Martan districts on the basis of information received from a rebel who had surrendered and another who was captured (, April 22). The ministry announced yesterday (April 21) that 21 rebels were killed and another 60 suspected rebels and rebel accomplices were captured in Chechnya during the first three months of this year. However, the Kavakzsky Uzel website quoted an unnamed expert as saying that those numbers would appear to contradict the claim repeatedly made by Kadyrov that a maximum 60-70 militants are operating in Chechnya. The expert noted that according to official Chechen government statistics, 87 militants were killed and more than 200 captured in the republic last year.

Three policemen, including an officer, were wounded in Chechnya on April 20 after they discovered a rebel dugout in the republic’s Achkhoi-Martan district and an improvised explosive device (IED) went off as they were inspecting the site. Investigators believe the IED was detonated remotely (, April 21).

On April 18, Kadyrov announced that one of three militants killed that day in a special operation near the Shatoi district village of Zony was Osem Kosumov, a resident of the village of Bugaroi in Chechnya’s Itum-Kale district who went by the alias “Bin Laden” and had been on the wanted list since 2003 (Interfax, April 18). On April 20, Chechnya’s Interior Ministry identified the other two rebels slain in the April 18 operation as Artur Makhmaev and Ruslan Saidakhmadov. According the ministry, all three were members of the rebel unit led by field commander Tarkhan Gaziev (, April 20).

In Dagestan, a suspected rebel who was on the federal wanted list was killed in Makhachkala, the republican capital, on April 20. The suspect, identified as Sabitbi Amanov, opened fire on police after they asked him to surrender and was killed by return fire. On April 18, two suspected rebels were killed on the outskirts of Makhachkala and another four suspected rebels were killed in Dagestan’s Levashinsky district. One of the slain rebels was identified as Magomed Adalaev.

On April 19, the imam of a mosque in the republic’s Kizlyar district was killed by unidentified gunmen. The attackers, armed with automatic rifles, shot the imam, Nuri Ramazanov, outside his home in the village of Borozdinovka. He later died of his wounds (, April 20). Also on April 19, one policeman was killed and two were wounded when two gunmen attacked a police unit in the city of Khasavyurt. One of the wounded policemen later died in the hospital (, April 19).

Meanwhile, a group of Russian human rights activists sent an appeal to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on April 20 asking him to intervene to end disappearances and other abuses by police and security forces in Chechnya. The appeal asked Medvedev to keep a promise he made during a meeting with human rights groups 11 months ago to investigate “egregious human rights violations such as enforced disappearances, torture and extrajudicial killings by members of the law enforcement and security agencies” and called on him to take “exhaustive measures to uphold the law on the Russian Federation’s territory.” The appeal said there have been no changes “in the atmosphere of total impunity for the most brazen violations of human rights in Chechnya,” noting that abductions and disappearances, torture and extrajudicial executions remain the most frequent violations.

The appeal was signed by the chairman of the Interregional Committee Against Torture and coordinator of combined mobile groups of human rights organizations in Chechnya, Igor Kalyapin; the chairman of the Moscow Helsinki Group, Lyudmila Alekseyeva; the chairman of the Civic Assistance Committee, Svetlana Gannushkina; Human Rights Watch researcher for Russia, Tatyana Lokshina; and the chairman of the Memorial human rights center, Oleg Orlov (Interfax, Reuters, April 20).