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Gazeta ru: Black widows lead Basayev's war of terror

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  • mariuslab2002
    Black widows lead Basayev s war of terror TEXT: Ksenia Solyanskaya Two months before Saturday s attack at an open-air rock concert in Moscow, the Interior
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 7, 2003
      Black widows lead Basayev's war of terror


      TEXT: Ksenia Solyanskaya


      Two months before Saturday's attack at an open-air rock concert in
      Moscow, the Interior Ministry of Chechnya reported that rebels had
      trained a squad of 36 female suicide bombers, which the notorious
      rebel leader Shamil Basayev pledged to send throughout Russia to
      attack civilians. A week ago a 23-year-old Chechen woman, reportedly
      a member of the suicide squad, was detained by Russian security
      agents, but she died before she could reveal any of her group's
      plans.

      Chechen women have carried out several suicide attacks since October
      2002, when over 800 theatre-goers were taken hostage by a rebel unit
      made up of more women than men. They have sat behind the wheel of
      trucks laden with explosives, one of which rammed into the government
      compound in Grozny in December killing 72 people; another blew up on
      May 12 in the immediate proximity to a government compound in the
      village of Znamenskoye killing 59, mostly civilians. A third truck
      exploded two weeks ago, on June 20, within 100-metres of the Grozny
      base of the rapid-reaction police force and an investigative bureau.
      The vehicle blew up earlier than the rebels had intended.

      On May 14, 31-year-old Grozny resident Larisa Musalayeva detonated
      explosives strapped to her body – the so-called shahid's, or martyr's
      belt – in a crowd that had gathered on the outskirts of the village
      of Iliskhan-Yurt for a religious festival organized by the pro-
      Kremlin United Russia party. The woman tried to get close to acting
      president Akhmad Kadyrov, but his bodyguards blocked her way. 18
      people were killed in the Iliskhan-Yurt blast, including four of
      Kadyrov's bodyguards.

      In the wake of the attack in Iliskhan-Yurt the republican Interior
      Ministry reported: ''The grouping of the field commander Shamil
      Basayev has trained 36 more female suicide bombers.'' If those
      calculations are true, two members of the female death squad are
      already dead. So far, Basayev himself has not confirmed those
      figures, but he regularly claims responsibility for female suicide
      bombings.

      Soon after the Iliskhan-Yurt bombing the terrorist leader posted a
      statement on a rebel website, announcing his plans to send female
      suicide bombers beyond the boundaries of Chechnya, to pursue the
      military who had taken part in the Chechen conflict. If it really is
      him making those claims, then the June 5 attack on a bus carrying
      Russian air force personnel to an airbase in North Ossetia was,
      indeed, perpetrated by one of his trainees.

      According to eyewitnesses interviewed by Gazeta.Ru, on June 5 a young
      Chechen girl, whose identity has still not been established, stood at
      a bus station for several hours in the guise of a beggar, waiting for
      her target, a bus carrying military pilots. The young lady was not
      allowed on to the bus, and detonated her explosives outside, killing
      20 passengers, mostly female technical personnel from the airbase.

      On June 24, a female terrorist was prevented from blowing herself up,
      as she and her accomplices were apprehended in the vicinity of
      Grozny. The FSB press-service filmed the operation (and was then
      disappointed that the recording of their successful raid was only
      shown by the state-owned Rossia Channel). The two accomplices were
      killed on the spot, and the third woman died of her wounds the
      following day

      According to FSB officials, before dying 23-year-old Luisa Asmayeva
      was questioned, but judging by the investigators' reports, she either
      did not know or simply refused to disclose the names of the
      masterminds. She also refused to give any information as to how the
      training of suicide bombers functions in Chechnya.

      It was reported that the girl was physically and psychologically
      exhausted, which precipitated her death, and, as a consequence,
      thwarted the security services' efforts to prevent further attacks.

      Even without a testimony the law enforcers have compiled their
      collective portrait of Basayev's death squad and labeled it The Black
      Widows. ''The organization is headed by Basayev, and suicide bombers
      are trained by instructors from the Arabic states,'' the prosecutor
      of Chechnya Vladimir Kravchenko explained after a terror attack in
      Mozdok.

      Basayev uses the name Riyadus Salikhiin for his group, which was
      included in a blacklist of terror organizations by the United States
      and the UN in the wake of the Nord-Ost hostage crisis. Chechen
      prosecutors allege that the squad consists mostly of lonely women who
      are forced from their houses to rebel bases, where the separatists
      pressure them to wear explosives, threatening violence against their
      relatives. Judging by those reports, most of them become suicide
      bombers against their will.

      However, Chechen prosecutors' reports have proved untrue on several
      occasions. In particular, in the case of the Iliskhan-Yurt blast the
      prosecutors initially said that the attack was carried out by four
      suicide-bombers; a week ago, however, they admitted that only one
      woman had carried a `shahid belt', a 31-year-old by the name of
      Musalayeva, while three other women, including one pensioner, were
      innocent victims.

      Among the rebels who rammed into the House of Government in Grozny in
      December last year was a female relative of Musalayeva. The woman who
      carried out the attack in Iliskhan-Yurt reportedly sought to avenge
      the death of her brother Imran, who blew himself up as Akhmad
      Kadyrov's bodyguards tried to detain him.

      Remarkably, the group who attacked the Nord-Ost musical theatre last
      October consisted mostly of young Chechen women – widows of rebels,
      including a widow of the notorious Chechen warlord and slave-trader
      Arbi Barayev.

      Addressing a news conference on July 3 in Moscow the chief of the CIS
      antiterrorist centre Colonel-General Boris Mylnikov warned of the
      threat emanating from Chechnya not only to Russia but also to other
      CIS states. According to the general, it is ''virtually impossible to
      avert a terror attack carried out by a suicide bomber''.

      ''Only in 1999 did Shamil Basayev announce his intention of setting
      up a battalion of suicide bombers and in 2000 we learnt that such a
      group of people had already been trained,'' Mylnikov noted. ''There
      were cases in Chechnya when suicide bombers used cars filled with
      explosives and when `black widows' wearing belts with explosives were
      involved. The latter was not formerly considered to be normal
      practice in organizations which operated under religious cover,'' he
      added.

      Indeed, suicide bombers emerged in Chechnya long before the attack on
      the Moscow theatre in Dubrovka. Two and a half years ago another
      relative of Arbi Barayev, Khava, and her friend hijacked a truck and
      drove it into the building of the commandant's office in Alkhan-Yurt,
      killing themselves and two officers of the Omsk special-purpose
      police force.

      A 16-year-old suicide bomber, driving an army Ural truck, tried to
      achieve the same goal but was stopped by vigilant policemen who
      opened fire at the vehicle. During questioning the wounded terrorist
      confessed to having been recruited by the widow of field commander
      Magomed Tsagarayev, seeking to avenge her husband's death.

      Another Chechen woman blew herself up in November 2001 in the town of
      Urus-Martan as she approached a local commandant Geidar Gadzhiyev.
      Gadzhiyev and one of the soldiers of his escort died. In most cases
      namely Chechen women, desperate and widowed, having lost their sons
      and husbands in clashes with the federals or during security sweeps,
      blow themselves up.
      07 July 14:35 Gazeta ru
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