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Americas

The Boston bombing suspects: what we know

Video by Stephen Carroll , Josh Vardey

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2013-04-20

As police tracked down the second suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings late Friday after a city-wide manhunt, more information about the two young brothers thought to be behind the attacks has emerged. Here is what we know so far.

 
In the wake of the manhunt that had Boston on lockdown for almost 24 hours and resulted in the death of one suspect and the capture of the other, information has continued to emerge about the two young men thought to be behind the April 15 Boston Marathon attack.
 
Law enforcement officials identified the two suspects as brothers from Chechnya, a mainly Muslim, long-disputed southern Russian territory that was embroiled in brutal wars against Russian authorities in the 1990s.
 
The second suspect, found hiding in a boat just outside the area where the police had been trying to locate him, is 19-year-old Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev. The suspect who was killed Friday morning was his 26-year-old brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev.
 
The Tsarnaev family lived for a short time in Makhachkala, the capital of the Dagestan region (near Chechnya), according to The New York Times, relaying information from Irina V. Bandurina, a school official in the area.
 
Bandurina told The New York Times that the family—consisting of the parents, the two boys, and two sisters—had also lived in the Central Asian country of Kyrgyzstan before moving to the US in 2002.
 
‘Islam’, ‘career and money’
 
The two brothers, who came from a violence-wracked Russian region, had been living together in Cambridge, outside Boston, according to an uncle, Ruslan Tsarni, contacted by The Associated Press.
 
According to testimonies from those who knew the brothers, Dzhokhar (the second suspect) was well integrated and well-liked by classmates, while the older Tamerlan once told a photojournalist who interviewed him about his budding boxing career: “I don’t have a single American friend. I don’t understand them.”
 
Friends and family members told US media sources that Tamerlan exerted an increasingly strong influence on his younger brother.
 
Other information about the brothers was quickly gleaned from social media. The younger brother had a profile on Vkontakte, Russia’s most widely used social networking site, which described his worldview as “Islam” and his main interests in life as “career and money”.
 
Also cited on his profile were several Chechnya-affiliated groups, as well as an excerpt from the Koran: “Do good, because Allah loves those who do good.”
 
His account states that he graduated in 2011 from the Cambridge Rindge & Latin School, a Boston-area public school. While at the school, he was a star wrestler.
 
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was registered as a student at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, the school said on Friday. Students at the university told AP that the 19-year-old was on campus this week after the bombings. The school was evacuated Friday morning amid a manhunt for Tsarnaev.
 
According to a Boston.com report, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was awarded a $2,500 scholarship in 2011.
 
But a university transcript reviewed by The New York Times showed that he was failing many of his courses.

The suspects' father told the AP by telephone from the Russian city of Makhachkala that his younger son was "an intelligent boy" and "a true angel.''
Boston suspects' father, Anzor Tsarnaev, talks to reporters
 
The older brother, killed by police Friday morning, had a YouTube account featuring his favourite videos, which included Russian rap clips and a filmed testimony of a Russian man called “How I accepted Islam and became a Shiite”. Another video on his YouTube page was entitled “Seven Steps to Successful Prayer”.
 
He also worked out in a gym and aspired to be a professional boxer, according to an online photojournalism slideshow that chronicled his training, published in a Boston University student magazine in 2010.
 
In the slideshow, Tamerlan Tsarnaev identified himself as a Muslim and said he did not drink or smoke: “God said no alcohol.” He said he hoped to fight for the US Olympic team and become a naturalised American.
 
He also said: “There are no values anymore….People can’t control themselves.”
 
According to the New York Times and CBS News, Dzhokhar, his mother and father became naturalised US citizens last year. Tamerlan was reportedly in the middle of the process, which was complicated by a 2009 domestic violence complaint filed by his girlfriend.
 
Government officials said Tamerlan travelled to Russia last year and returned to the US six months later.
 
Chechen militants have targeted Moscow and other parts of Russia with bomb attacks and hostage takings, but the Boston events would be the first Chechen terror attack in the West.

 



 

Date created : 2013-04-19

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