AP’s Moscow based correspondent, Mike Eckel, reports from Moscow that the “Riyad-us-Saliheen” Martyrs’ Battalion has claimed responsibility for the attack on the Kremlin’s puppet Yevkurov.
Mike Eckel, in particular, writes:
“According to a statement posted on a rebel-linked Web site Sunday (in fact, KC published this statement in Russian version on Saturday around noon – KC), the group, which calls itself the Riyad-us-Saliheen Martyrs’ Brigade, said it staged last week’s attack on Yevkurov because of his support for Kremlin policies and because of his role in the second war in Chechnya that began in 1999.
“This operation has yet again showed the Kremlin and its slaves in the Caucasus that the Mujahideen are the legal authorities of this land and we will never accept the enemies’ laws and its occupation” said in the statement.
It was impossible to confirm the statement, but it was posted on a well-known Russian-language Web site that has long been used by rebel groups and sympathizers to publish diatribes and reports about Russia’s policy in North Caucasus.
Russian authorities refused to comment on the statement.
The attack on Yevkurov in Ingushetia, which borders Chechnya to the west, was the latest evidence that the resistance in the regions along Russia’s southern borders could be intensifying, despite the Kremlin’s insistence that the Islamic-inspired insurgency in Chechnya was crushed and peace and prosperity was returning.
Until 2006, the Riyad-us-Saliheen Martyrs’ Brigade – which also been known as the Reconnaissance and Sabotage Battalion of Chechen Martyrs – was headed by Basayev, a longtime leader of Chechen rebels who was behind many of the worst attacks to hit Russia.
The US State Department in 2003 slapped sanctions on the brigade – in an effort to make it harder for supporters to fund its activities – and the UN Security Council followed later.
It was unclear whether the group’s emergence after so many years signified a new phase in the military resistance that has ravaged the North Caucasus since 1994, when the first Chechen war began” AP reports.
The full statement of the “Riyad-us-Saliheen” will soon be published on Kavkaz Center’s English version.
Department of Monitoring,