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Unknown rebel group claims Moscow metro blast

: Reuters

: Anton Brazhitsa  : Reuters

In a statement published by the Kavkazcenter web site a hitherto unknown Chechen rebel group claimed reasonability for the February terror attack on Moscow metro. The Gazotan Murdash group said it belongs to a certain Sufi order and is headed by Lom Ali-Chechensky.

The blast that tore through a packed metro carriage near the Avtozavodskaya metro station in the morning of 6 February killed 40 people. Investigators said the blast was a terror attack.

Kavkazcenter, the main mouthpiece of Chechen rebels, writes that they received statements from the Gazotan Murdash three times first on February 8, two days after the bombing. The publishers also said they received a phone call before they agreed to publish the letter with claim of responsibility.

The statement signed by Lom-Ali Chechensky said the Gazotan Murdash group had successfully conducted its first operation on the Moscow metro, adding that it was revenge for an alleged atrocity by Russian soldiers in Chechen capital Grozny exactly four years before the metro blast.

"It was small, but good. Remember! This was revenge for Alda February 5-6, 2000, and it is only the beginning. An eye for an eye! An injury for an injury! Freedom or Death!" the statement reads.

According to independent human rights groups, nearly 50 people died when Russian troops stormed through the Chechen village of Alda in February 2000, several months after Russian troops returned to the region.

The military and police units were dispatched to the area. Journalist Anna Politkovskaya and Human Rights Watch reported some 50 summary executions of peaceful Chechens during the so-called mop-up operations in Alda. In its report on the Alda tragedy Human Rights Watch mentions the demise of Lom-Ali Idigov, the only of some 50 killed Chechens who bore such name.

Lom-Ali Idigov (reportedly 35 years of age) was allegedly murdered by Russian troops who locked him up in a basement of an apartment building and threw in a hand grenade. Idigovs 40-year-old brother Musa was wounded but survived. He later told the story to his neighbour, Luiza Umkhayeva.

Luiza Umkhayeva then contacted the Human Rights Watch group and said that Russian soldiers had come to the Idigovs house at 3 Irtyshskaya Street and demanded that Lom-Ali and Musa show them the basement. When told there was no basement in their house the soldiers forced the two Chechens into a neighbouring courtyard where they locked the brothers in the basement and threw two grenades inside.

To save his brothers life Lom-Ali covered the grenade with his body and died.

Musa suffered a concussion. Later he told employees of the Memorial human rights group: As they forced us into the basement the soldiers said: Lets play rebels. We descended [into the basement] and then a grenade fell at our feet. My brother, apparently, covered it with himself, for his body was literally torn to pieces by the blast. I lost consciousness. When I came round at night I crawled out from the basement.

What happened to Musa Idigov afterwards remains unknown. But one may suggest that he has decided to avenge his brother.

Earlier responsibility for terrorist acts carried out by Chechen rebels in Russia was claimed by Shamil Basayev. Basayev published his statements on Kavkazcenter.

The last attack for which Basayev claimed responsibility was the 9 December explosion near the National Hotel in Moscow and the 5 December blast on the commuter train in Yessentuki. Basayev then said both attacks were carried out by the Islamic group Riyadus-Saliheyn operating under his command.

Following the 6 February metro explosion, however, Basayev expressed concern about the tragic events in Moscow and even said he was ready to dispatch special units for protecting law and order in the capital.

02 16:29


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