Russian Islamist Doku Umarov calls for attacks on 2014 Winter Olympics
Supporters must use maximum force to ensure Sochi Games do not take place,
rebel leader says in video
Miriam Elder in Moscow
guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 3 July 2013 05.49 EDT
Doku Umarov is Russia's most wanted man
Islamist leader Doku Umarov in the video calling for jihadists to attack a
range of targets including the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games. Photograph:
The leader of Russia's Islamist movement has lifted a moratorium on attacks
inside Russia and called on his rebels to disrupt the upcoming Winter
Olympics in the southern city of Sochi.
In a video dated June 2013, Doku Umarov said his followers must use "maximum
force" to ensure the Games do not take place.
After claiming responsibility for deadly attacks on the Moscow metro and
Moscow's Domodedovo airport, Umarov last year declared a ceasefire inside
Russia as protests against the Kremlin leadership gripped the capital. In
the video he said Vladimir Putin, the president, had mistaken the move for
"Today we must show those who live in the Kremlin . that our kindness is not
weakness," Umarov said, speaking in a forest and dressed in green
camouflage. "They plan to hold the Olympics on the bones of our ancestors,
on the bones of many, many dead Muslims buried on our land by the Black Sea.
We as mujahideen are required not to allow that, using any methods that
Allah allows us."
Russia's Islamist rebels consider Sochi to be part of an unformed Caucasus
emirate stretching along Russia's southern flank.
Security concerns over the Olympics, to be held in February 2014, are
running very high, with Sochi just 250 miles from the republics of Chechnya
and Dagestan, where most of Russia's rebels live.
During a visit by Putin and David Cameron to Sochi in May, the two leaders
said Russia and Britain's security services would co-operate on security
before the Games.
Russia has also reached out to the US and Georgia, two countries with which
it has poor relations, to co-operate on security, moves that reflect both
Russian and global concern over potential violence at the event.
Umarov called on his followers to use "maximum force . to disrupt these
satanic games to be held on the bones of our ancestors".
Umarov, the leader of an umbrella organisation comprising branches of
regional rebel groups throughout Russia, relies on video messages to get his
messages out, both to leaders in the Kremlin and to his followers around the
country. He is believed to be hiding in the mountains between Chechnya and
He has claimed responsibility for a number of spectacular attacks on Russian
soil, including suicide bombings on the Moscow metro in 2010, which killed
40 people, and at Domodedovo airport in 2011, which killed 37.
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