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Chechen rebel leader Saydulayev killed

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  • Chechen rebel leader Saydulayev killed


    Abdul-Khalim Saydulayev

    GROZNY, Russia -- Police in Chechnya killed rebel leader Abdul-Khalim Saydulayev during a special operation Saturday, authorities said.

    Saydulayev was killed in his hometown of Argun, the press service of Moscow-backed Chechen Prime Minister Ramzan Kadyrov said. The city is about 15 kilometers east of the provincial capital, Grozny.

    Argun police chief Ali Tagirov said officers from the local police unit and a special police force acted on a tip and killed Saydulayev when he offered resistance.

    NTV television reported from Argun that police also killed a militant who accompanied Saydulayev while two other rebel fighters managed to escape.

    Further details on the operation were not immediately available.

    Saydulayev had succeeded Chechen rebel leader Aslan Maskhadov, who was killed by Russian forces in March 2005. Saydulayev's killing, if confirmed, would be further evidence that the rebels' position is weakening in Chechnya even as Islamic-inspired insurgents have spread their influence across the volatile North Caucasus region.

    "The terrorists have been virtually beheaded. They have sustained a severe blow, and they are never going to recover from it," Interfax quoted Kadyrov as saying.

    "We must decisively end international terrorism in the whole of the North Caucasus," the RIA-Novosti news agency quoted him as saying.

    Saydulayev, a fundamentalist field commander, was relatively unknown outside rebel circles. He had served as a judge of the Chechen rebels' Shariat committee - an extension of the Islamic court established under Maskhadov when he was Chechnya's elected president in the 1990s

    Chechnya's separatist movement initially was rooted in nationalist sentiment, but in recent years has taken on a growing Islamic cast. Saydulayev had promoted efforts to spread the rebel movement beyond Chechnya's borders in the so-called "Caucasus Front" and attack Russian forces across the poverty-stricken and corruption-gripped south.

    Ekho Moskvy radio had said Russian prosecutors considered him the main organizer of the 2001 kidnapping of Kenneth Gluck, of New York City, who worked for Doctors Without Borders in southern Russia. Gluck was freed after 25 days.

    The radio station also said Maskhadov had called Saydulayev the co-organizer of a 2004 raid on police and security installations in the Russian republic of Ingushetia, which killed some 90 people.

    >>>Source<<<

    Profile: Abdul-Khalim Saydulayev

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