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– AKHMED KADYROV’S ASSASSINATION

On 05/09/2004, Victory Day in Russia to commemorate the Russian victory on Nazi Germany in 1945, during a military parade in Grozny, Chechnya’s capital, a bomb exploded under the gallery of “Dinamo” Football Stadium where the Chechen pro-Russian President Akhmed Kadyrov, dignitaries and senior officers from the Russian army stationed in Chechnya, were present. At least 12 previous failed attempts on Akhmed Kadyrov’s life where made over the previous four years.

Two of Akhmed Kadyrov’s bodyguards, the Chairman of the Chechen State Council, a Reuters journalist, and as many as a dozen others were killed (later report said more than 30 died). Some 56 others were wounded, including Colonel General Valery Baranov, the commander of Russian forces in Chechnya who lost his leg in the explosion. The bomb was said to have been built into the concrete of a supporting column during recent repairs and renovation of the Stadium’s gallery, which ended just few days earlier.

Militant leader Shamil Basayev claimed responsibility for the strike. Rebel leader and former anti-Russian Chechen President – Aslan Maskhadov, in an interview with the rebel news agency Chechenpress, denied any involvement.

Akhmed Kadyrov’s son, Ramzan Kadyrov, the commander of the pro-Russian Chechen militia, succeeded his father as the strongest man in Chechnya, the Prime Minister and as from 03/2007 Chechnya’s President.

According to intelligence sources Shamil Basayev first set up a special assassination team comprised of about 40 militants. The team consisted of a command unit, a bomb-making unit, a demolition unit, surveillance units, agents working inside the Chechen government, counterintelligence and physical protection units, logistics people, and a communications staff that served as the link between all the units and reported directly to the central leadership, including Basayev. Even after Russian and Chechen security services apprehended members of the team, on various occasions, the operation never was compromised.

In late 03/2004, moles strategically planted inside the Chechen government in Grozny told Shamil Basayev that Akhmed Kadyrov’s Presidential Security Service — known also as the Presidential Guard — was in need of new recriuts. The service was stretched thin because agents had been assigned to hunt militant field commanders throughout Chechnya. The militants’ assassination team moved immediately to ensure that some of its operatives were hired.

It is believed that at least one established security service agent, a mid-ranking company commander by the name of “Gushi,” either had been planted in the service long before or was bribed into cooperating with the assassination plan. Gushi, who remained in Grozny while other commanders loyal to the president were fighting in the mountains in April and May 2004, eased these new militant recruits into jobs with the service. (Gushi, in fact, is a former militant commander whose entire Security Service company consisted of former militants who had surrendered their arms).

Team member Lo-Ali Chupalayev (now, 01/2009, in custody) was hired as a mason with the government’s construction and repair works department. Likely with Gushi’s aid. Lo-Ali Chupalayev was included among the crew of workers assigned to repair Boxing Ring Hall, located just beneath the VIP gallery box. The work was done in April 15-16 — about three weeks before the attack. Lo-Ali Chupalayev’s brother was a militant killed by Russian troops in 1996. Another brother was a Basayev assistant who was captured and is serving 16 years in prison on numerous murder and torture charges.

Lo-Ali Chupalayev smuggled three explosive devices into Dynamo Stadium, embedding two bombs inside the wet concrete of this ceiling. He then ran electrical cords from the bombs across a section of the ceiling, through the floor of the viewing stands and, finally, along the stands, about 80 to 100 yards from the VIP section. These cords were then hidden under fresh strips of plaster.

The first bomb — the one that killed Akhmed Kadyrov and six others — consisted of a 122mm artillery shell packed with 2.2 kilograms of trotil-hexane, a mining explosive commonly used in homemade bombs, especially by the Chechen militants. The bomb also had an extremely long electric cord and a push-button trigger to activate it. (It is believed that a militant smuggled in the trigger on the day of the event). This shell-turned-bomb was embedded in the wet concrete of the VIP box’s floor, almost precisely below the seat to be occupied by Kadyrov. This bomb was intended to kill Kadyrov instantly.

An identical bomb was encased in the floor of the same box, about 10 to 15 yards away, was to be set for 20 minutes after the first blast occurred. An analysis of the timer found after the attack determined that it was not technically designed to be programmed far in advance, meaning that an operative must have set it while Kadyrov was in the stadium.

Few weeks later, on 07/13/2004, a bomb went of on the convoy of Sergey Abramov, the acting Prime Minister of Chechnya, in Grozny. One man was killed and three other wounded. Sergey Abramov escape unharmed the attack.

 

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