09 June 2009, 22:00
Apaev: Chechen authorities can hide information about Doku Umarov's death till June 12
So far, there is no reliable data confirming the death of Doku Umarov, leader of Chechen separatists, who declared himself in 2007 to be the commander of Caucasian mujahads. However, observers do not exclude that the authorities plan to announce Umarov's liquidation by the forthcoming holidays. According to Aslambek Apaev, an expert of the Moscow Helsinki Group for Northern Caucasus, if Umarov was really killed, the fact will be disclosed only by June 12, the Day of Russia.
On the other hand, Mr Apaev has expressed doubt that Umarov could be killed.
"As to myself, so far, I have strong doubts that Doku Umarov is dead. His death was earlier announced more than once. But even if he was really killed, the fact, as I think, will be announced only by June 12, the Day of Russia holiday. Here, authorities like to date liquidation of militants' leaders to this or that holiday. For example, Maskhadov was killed by March 8, and liquidation of Basaev was 'presented' by special agencies right to the G8 summit in St Petersburg. So, let's wait," the human rights defender said to the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent.
The whole day yesterday media kept reporting about possible liquidation of Doku Umarov, militants' leader in Northern Caucasus, or Amir of the Caucasian Imarate, as he was officially called by separatists after 2007. Law enforcement bodies and the military commandant's office of Chechnya withheld to either confirm or refute this information.
"It's too early to assert that Doku Umarov was liquidated, although there are serious grounds to assume that he is really dead. We possess information that last week this bandit leader was heavily wounded in Sunzha District of Ingushetia, but they managed to evacuate him out of the operation zone. Then, his four bodyguards were killed, including a citizen of Azerbaijan," a source in the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) of Chechnya said to the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent.
Author: Muslim Ibragimov; Source: CK correspondent