Last Updated: Tue Nov 02, 2010 19:11 pm (KSA) 16:11 pm (GMT)

Dubai accuses Chechnya ex Vice-PM in murder

Selim Yamadayev fought against Russia in the first Chechen war of 1994-96 (File)
Selim Yamadayev fought against Russia in the first Chechen war of 1994-96 (File)

Dubai police accused former Vice-Prime Minister of Chechnya Adam Delimkhanov of masterminding the assassination of former Chechen military commander Sulim Yamadayev, shot down in an underground car park in a brutal settling of accounts.

"Chechen Adam Delimkhanov is the man behind the operation of Selim Yamadayev," head of Dubai police Lieutenant General Dahi Khalfan Tamim told reporters in Dubai.

Yamadayev was shot on March 28 in the underground car park of a luxury seaside apartment block in Dubai.

"The crime ... is 100 percent of Chechen making and it's an operation of settling accounts (among Chechens)," Tamim said.

Delimkhanov, who is now a member of the Russian parliament, rejected the allegations.

"The statements by the Dubai police chief are provocative and aimed at destabilising Chechen society," Ria Novosti news agency quoted him as saying.

Masterminding the murder

 Chechen Adam Delimkhanov is the man behind the operation of Selim Yamadayev 
Dubai Police Chief Dahi Khalfan Tamim

The attack on Yamadayev, a foe of Kremlin-backed leader of Chechnya Ramzan Kadyrov, was carried out with a Russian-made gold-colored handgun, police said, showing the media a picture of a weapon and a pair of black gloves.

Two men, Mahdi Lournia from Iran and Tajik national Makhsud-Jan, are being held for questioning over the killing.

Tamim said Lournia was a main suspect but stressed that Iran and the Iranian intelligence service were not involved in the affair, and no other authorities had assisted Dubai police.

Police said they would seek an international arrest warrant for four others, including Delimkhanov, in connection with the case.

Yamadayev was the fifth Chechen living abroad to be killed in the past six months. Last week, Kadyrov's spokesman dismissed any suggestion that the latest crime was linked in any way to the Chechen president.

Sulim Yamadaev (R) and Ramzan Kadyrov (L)

Russian analysts suggested that Yamadayev's death removes one of the last remaining powerful opponents of Kadyrov's increasingly strong control over Chechnya.

Kadyrov, 32, has pleased the Kremlin by calming the restive and mostly Muslim province -- which fought two separatist wars against Moscow -- but human rights activists have expressed alarm at extrajudicial killings and forced Islamization.

Striking with an iron fist

 We will strike with an iron fist anyone who dares to violate our country's security 
Tamim

Once one of Chechnya's most powerful men, Yamadayev was a former rebel who switched sides and backed the Kremlin, becoming a decorated military leader. He had challenged Kadyrov for control of local security forces until last year, when he was dismissed from command of an elite battalion and forced to flee.

Kadyrov described Yamadayev, who was awarded Russia's highest military honor, as a "criminal".

Yamadayev fought against Russia in the first Chechen war of 1994-96, when Moscow suffered a humiliating defeat and had to pull out of the separatist southern province.

He became commander of the Vostok battalion; a unit of battle-hardened former rebels which local media said was linked to Russia's powerful military intelligence agency, the GRU.

Yamadayev left Russia and moved to Dubai four months ago for fear of his life after a brother was assassinated in September 2008, according to the Russian media.

"Exporting the conflicts of warring gangs in Chechnya to us is not acceptable ... We will strike with an iron fist anyone who dares to violate our country's security," Tamim said.

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