2 Islamic Caucasus Emirate leaders reported killed in Chechnya


Khuseyn Gakayev [center], the deputy commander of the Islamic Caucasus Emirate’s eastern front.

Russia Today reported that Khuseyn (or Hussein) and Muslim Gakayev, two senior leaders in the Islamic Caucasus Emirate, were among 11 terrorists killed during a Russian military operation in Chechnya:

Two men, wanted for at least 5 terrorist acts, have been killed in a special forces operation in Chechnya. The Gakayev brothers were deemed more dangerous than militant Doku Umarov, by Chechen leader, Ramzan Kadyrov.

The two brothers, Khuseyn and Muslim Gakayev, are said to be responsible for the deaths of many law enforcers and civilians and were on Russia’s wanted list for 11 years. The pair were killed during an operation on Thursday in the Vedeno district, one of the regions hardest hit by fighting in the area.

“Two Gakayev brothers, were on the federal wanted list for involvement in the terrorist acts and the murders of law enforcers and civilian” the press center of the Russian Interior Ministry told the media.

Ramzan Kadyrov, President of the Russian Republic of Chechnya, noted that the two men were more dangerous than terrorist at large Doku Umarov. Umarov has been linked to a spate of deadly terrorist attacks targeting Russian civilians…

The Gakayev brothers made several high-profile attacks, most recently a suicide bomb attack on an interior ministry vehicle that killed four last August. They were also blamed for an attack on the Chechen parliament in 2010 that killed at least six people, and an assassination attempt at the residence of Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov. After this, Kadyrov announced a reward for information on their activities.

While the Islamic Caucasus Emirate has not confirmed the deaths of the Gakayev brothers, Kavkaz Center, a mouthpiece of the terror group, confirmed that “heavy fighting is taking place in the mountains of Vedeno district ” in Chechnya, and said Russia forces “have surrounded a group of Mujahideen by the will of Allah.”

The nature of the statement at Kavkaz indicates that important leaders were present in Vedeno:

Killed and wounded are reported among the Mujahideen. The exact number is not known. The situation for the Mujahideen is serious, but invaders and puppets also incurred losses. More 15 enemies of Allah have been reported eliminated and wounded.

We ask all Muslims to do prayers for the Mujahideen. Ask your children, as well as patients from friends and relatives to do prayer, as Allah answers the prayer of the Muslims of this category.

Your tahajjud (night prayer) prayers would be very helpful. It is hard time for the Mujahideen and they in need of prayers of the Muslims, who, Allah’s willing, will find their words of help for the Mujahideen on the balance of the Judgment Day!

Khuseyn Gakayev is one of several senior leaders who attempted to oust Doku Umarov as the Caucasus Emirate’s emir in the summer of 2010. Umarov reconciled with Khuseyn in July 2011, and named Khuseyn the deputy commander of the eastern front [see LWJ report, Internal divisions resolved, claims Caucasus Emirate].

For more information on Doku Umarov, the Islamic Caucasus Emirate, and the Emirate’s war with Russia and links to al Qaeda, see LWJ reports, 35 killed in suicide attack at Moscow airport, and US designates Caucasus Emirate leader Doku Umarov a global terrorist.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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  • Gerald says:

    If all the Terrorists were like the Chechens,I would be worried.Those guys are nuts!

  • gaz says:

    Virtually all attacks by the Gakayev brothers in the last 11 years were against military targets in a classic insurgency campaign. While the insurgency in the north caucasus has taken many severe his In the last few years, the history of Chechnya would indicate another insurgency will begin once the next generation of Chechens come of.age.
    However there is the possibility that the insurgency will be given a lifeline with the arrival of mujahideen reinforcements at the conclusion of the jihads in Syria and Afghanistan.

  • mike merlo says:

    good for the Russians

  • Jason Blatter says:

    Knowing what I do about how the “ruskies” operate, I’m sure it was a bit of the ultra-violence kind of fun… Good job spetznaz

  • Andy says:

    @Gaz, those are some very good points, especially regarding the Gakayev brothers’ campaign. But I would doubt that after Syria, an influx of battle hardened Chechens coming back and stoking up the flames. Those guys were already battle hardened, and they presumably only left in 2011-2012. In the past 18-24 months, the Insurgency in the North Caucasus has been considerably blunted with the killing of several high ranking Emirs, particularly in the Spring of 2011, with the likes of Supyan Abdullayev Deputy Emir and Muhannad Emir of Arab fighters being killed. Don’t forget that in 2010 Emir Magas the Military Emir of the Caucasus Emirate was captured alive. A rare feat, as most of them put up a strong fight when cornered and usually die. Last year another senior Emir was captured, an Arab one, making it even more rare.
    But the killing of the Gakayev brothers is quite a blow to the insurgency. Usually in the past 3 years or so we’ve seen Junior Emirs in Dagestan, Ingushetia and Kabardino Balkaria being killed. While the conflict seems to have spread to these repsective provinces, the epicenter of the insurgency is where it originated, in Chechnya. That’s where all the senior leaders reside, most likely Doku Umarov, Tarkhan Gaziyev, Aslambek Vadalov and Aslan Byutukayev. These are the most battle hardened Emirs. They’ve survived since the First War. And they give out orders from Chechnya to the Junior Emirs in the surrounding areas.
    Why pick Chechnya as a base of operations? Apart from the historical connection to the insurgency? Terrain! Dagestan where it seems the insurgency is the most fiercest has flatland terrain with little tree cover and many urban areas. Hence why many Dagestan based Emirs die in urban environments usually cornered in some building. Ingushetia is very small and urbanized as well with some forest cover in the south. Though with the capture of Emir Magas who was also the Emir of Ingushetia the insurgency there has never really recovered from that set back. And Kabardino Balkaria is the most urbanized of the republics. So that leaves only Chechnya as a viable source of good geographical cover. It’s southern regions are heavily forested and mountainous. That’s where the Insurgent HQ is located. The Gakayev’s are arguably the highest ranking Emirs killed since Shamil Basayev. And the fact that the Russians new where to hunt them shows they’ve got some good intel on their hands. This wasn’t some accidental meet up of patrols in the woods. The Gakayev’s were surrounded by a determined force that knew who they were chasing and where to look for them.
    Hopefully they will get new leads on the 4 last remaining Senior Emirs. The FSB seems to be in a hurry now. Sochi 2014 is only a year away. 2013 could finally be the year where Doku Umarov is brought to justice. But that will not matter much operationally if Vadalov, Gaziyev, and Byutukayev are not eliminated as well. Should that happen the Emirs in the surrounding republics will not be able to operate and probably makes mistakes out of panic that could lead to their own downfall.
    We’ll just have to wait and see. This spring-autumn fighting season could be more interesting than 2011.


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