23 March 2005, 23:19

Chechen resistance crackdown succeeds again

Rizvan Chitigov, a prominent 40-year-old field commander, has been killed in Chechnya's Shali district, reports a source at the Chechen law enforcement agencies.

"In a successful special operation, officers of the Chechen Interior Ministry and presidential security service killed Rizvan Chitigov, a rebel leader well-known in the republic. He would be a subordinate of the Arab terrorist Khattab for a while and he joined Basayev after Khattab's destruction. Chitigov was charged with a large number of grave crimes, including murders of federal servicemen and law enforcers," the police officer said. He did not give any details of the operation saying he had no reliable information.

President Alu Alkhanov of Chechnya calls the information about Rizvan Chitigov's destruction reliable, Novosti news agency says. "I was informed about this earlier today and I think the information it reliable," Alkhanov said at a press conference in Moscow.

Speaking about Chitigov's role in terrorist activities, the Chechen president called him "a major figure in rebel groups who had numerous murders of law enforcers and government officials on his conscience".

In 2002, special services became informed Chitigov wanted to obtain poisonous substances to commit terrorist acts against federal forces, says a spokesman for the Regional Operations Headquarters (ROH) for the Counter-terrorist Operation in the North Caucasus. "That time, his notes were found on how to produce home-made poisonous substances," the agency's interlocutor said.

Rizvan Chitigov became known as a field commander during the second military campaign in Chechnya. According to law enforcement agencies, Chitigov was involved in the abduction of OSCE mission members in Chechnya and executions of federal servicemen.

The ROH spokesmen said Chitigov was a native of the Shali district. He used several fake IDs, was known under the alias Ramzan and used the callsigns Buran ("Blizzard") and Minyor ("Combat engineer").

In the mid-1990s, he headed a special unit at the security service of the so-called Ichkeria. "Chitigov, like Shamil Basayev, was a member of the so-called Supreme Council (Shura) of Chechnya and Dagestan," added the interlocutor of Novosti.

Chitigov coordinated all sabotage and terrorist activities in the Shali district. He was a trusted person of the Arab mercenary Khattab who was killed in Chechnya in 2003.

More about Chechnya's 'security service':

Author: Sultan Abubakarov, CK correspondent;

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