Friday, February 20, 2004

Update on Yanderbiyev

Former Chechen President Zelimkhan Yanderbiyev was recently killed in Qatar. The Chechens blame the "Russian special services."

Qatar has arrested two suspects in the murder:

Qatar said today it has arrested two suspects in the assassination of former Chechen President Zelimkhan Yandarbiyev.

Yandarbiyev, 51, was killed Feb. 13 when a bomb ripped through his car. His teenage son was wounded.

The Interior Ministry said two suspects are being questioned in his death. No further details were available in the ministry statement, carried by the Gulf state's national news agency, QNA.

Yandarbiyev, Chechnya's acting president in 1996-1997, had lived in Qatar since 2000 and was wanted by Russian authorities for suspected terrorism and links to Al Qaeda. Moscow had been seeking his extradition.

His assassination occurred one week after a bombing in a Moscow subway killed 41 people and wounded more than 100. President Vladimir Putin blamed Chechen rebels for the bombing.

An aide to Yandarbiyev, Ibrahim Gabi, has blamed the Kremlin for Yandarbiyev's killing, a pro-rebel Web site reported.

Last year, the United Nations put Yandarbiyev on a list of people with alleged links to Al Qaeda. Washington also put him on a list of international terrorists subject to financial sanctions.

Yandarbiyev became one of the most prominent proponents of radical Islam among the Chechen rebels. During the hard-line Islamic rule of the Taliban in Afghanistan, Yandarbiyev opened a Chechen Embassy in the Afghan capital, and a consulate in the southern city of Kandahar.


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