From left to right: Khamzat, the commander of the Riyad-us-Saliheen Martyr Brigade; Doku Umarov, the leader of the Caucasus Emirate; and Saifullah, a suicide bomber.
Doku Umarov, the leader of the Islamic Caucasus Emirate, has recently threatened Russia with “a year of blood and tears” and is seen with the leader of the terror group’s suicide teams.
Umarov appeared on a videotape flanked by Khamzat, the commander of the Riyad-us-Saliheen Martyr Brigade, and a young man identified as Saifullah, or the sword of Allah, a common nom de guerre. All three men are wearing combat fatigues and are seated in front of the flag of the Islamic Caucasus Emirate. The videotape was shot as Umarov was visiting the headquarters of his suicide brigade.
The videotape was received by Kavkaz Center, a propaganda arm of the Islamic Caucasus Emirate, on Feb. 4 and published that same day. It is unclear when the videotape was produced.
Umarov did not make a direct reference to the Jan. 24 suicide attack at Domodedovo International Airport in Moscow that killed 35 people and wounded scores more. Umarov said that Saifullah was preparing for a “special operation” inside Russia. At the end of the videotape, both Umarov and Khamzat are seen embracing Saifullah, indicating he was prepared to carry out a suicide attack.
“Emir Dokku Abu Usman said in his statement that he came to the base of the Riyad-us-Saliheen Martyr Brigade before sending a Mujahid named Saifullah to Russia with a task,” the Kavkaz Center report stated.
Umarov threatened to continue to carry out attacks inside Russia until the country withdraws its forces from the North Caucasus region and relinquishes its claim on the territory.
“Allah willing the Mujahideen will make this year one of blood and tears for you,” Umarov said.
“You [the Russian people] had better come to your senses and think,” and force the country’s leaders to withdraw from the Caucasus, Umarov continued. He also described Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s security forces as “his pack of dogs” and said the suicide attacks in Russia would not end as long as Russia remained in the North Caucasus.
It is unclear if Saifullah was the Domodedovo suicide bomber. Russian intelligence is investigating 10 men for involvement in the attack. The names of two possible suspects have been leaked by Russian police: Razdobudko, a member of the Caucasus Emirate-linked Nogai Jamaat, which operates in northern Chechnya and in Dagestan; and Magomed Yevloyev, a resident of Ingushetia whose body parts were found at the scene of the blast. Razdobudko has gone missing, while Yevloyev is said to have disappeared six months ago.
Khamzat’s appearance with Umarov marks the first time the leader of the Riyad-us-Saliheen Martyr Brigade has been mentioned or seen in public. In a statement released on Kavkaz Center in October 2010, Umarov identified Khamzat as “a deputy and an emir” who was a member of the Caucasus Emirate’s top council.
Umarov reconstituted the Riyad-us-Saliheen Martyr Brigade in April 2009 and immediately directed it to carry out suicide attacks and suicide assaults in the North Caucasus as well is in Russia.
Some of the most recent high-profile suicide operations carried out by the Riyad-us-Saliheen Martyr Brigade include: the double suicide attack in Moscow’s metro on March 29, 2010 (39 people killed); a double suicide attack that targeted police in the city of Kizlyar in Dagestan on March 31, 2010 (13 people killed); a suicide attack at a concert in Stavropol on May 26, 2010 (seven killed); the assault on Kadyrov’s home village of Tsentoroi in Chechnya on Aug. 29, 2010 (16 killed); and the Sept. 9, 2010, suicide attack in Vladikavkaz (16 killed).
For more information on the Islamic Caucasus Emirate and its war with Russia, see LWJ report, 35 killed in suicide attack at Moscow airport.
Are you a dedicated reader of FDD's Long War Journal? Has our research benefitted you or your team over the years? This holiday season we are asking readers to support our independent reporting and analysis by considering a one-time or monthly donation. Thanks for reading! You can make a tax-deductible donation here.