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Chechen militants claim responsibility for Siberia dam disaster

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2009-08-21

Chechen fighters are claiming responsibility for a disaster on Monday at a hydro-electric dam in Siberia that is believed to have killed over 70 people. The Kremlin rejects the rebel claims and has offered to pay the victims' families compensation.

AFP - An Islamist group has claimed responsibility for the deadly disaster at Russia's biggest hydroelectric power station this week, according to a statement posted on a rebel website on Friday.
   
It was not possible to immediately check the veracity of the claim, which the Kavkazcenter.com website said it had received via email.
   
Riyadus Salikhiin, a militant group with roots in Chechnya, in the same statement claimed responsibility for a huge suicide bombing in Russia's southern Ingushetia region on Monday that killed over 20 people.
   
It said militants had carried out the attack at the power plant in southern Siberia by placing an anti-tank grenade in the turbine hall on a timer and later detonating it.
   
"Praise to Allah, on August 17 (Monday) an act of sabotage was carried out at the Sayano-Shushenskaya hydroelectric plant that had been carefully thought out and prepared for a long time," the statement said.
   
On the same day, an "operation was carried out to destroy the occupying police forces" in Nazran, the main city of Ingushetia.
   
It said the suicide bomber broke through the gates of the police headquarters in a car "and then set off his explosives."
   
In June the same group claimed responsibility for a bomb attack that badly injured the president of Ingushetia, Yunus-Bek Yevkurov.
   
Riyadus Salikhiin calls itself a "martyrs' brigade" and was previously led by Shamil Basayev, the notorious Chechen warlord who masterminded the Beslan school hostage-taking of 2004 and was killed in 2006.
   
More recently the group has said that its commander is Chechen guerrilla leader Doku Umarov, head of the self-proclaimed "Caucasus Emirate" which is seeking to impose sharia law in the Muslim regions of Russia's North Caucasus.

Date created : 2009-08-21

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