The Michigan Daily - Monday, September 20, 2004 - 5A
Russia searc for school siege mastermind
* Chechen rebel reputedly responsible for hostage bloodbath
MOSCOW (AP) - He is Russia's
homegrown version of Osama bin Laden,
but with a trademark all his own: dramat-
ic mass hostage-takings that have often
turned to bloodbaths. Like bin Laden,
Shamil Basayev is an elusive target who
has evaded capture for years.
Chechnya's Deputy Interior Minister
Sultan Satuyev told the Interfax news
agency yesterday that a search opera-
tion involving 1,000 personnel was
under way in Chechnya's mountains
after intelligence reports suggested that
Basayev was in the republic.
But Russian forces have claimed to
have reliable tips on Basayev's location
in the past - and failed to catch him.
Basayev, 39, who lost a leg five years
ago while fleeing Russian forces through
a minefield in 1999, has been helped by
the vast sympathy he enjoys from many
Chechens, a people who have resisted
Russian domination for centuries and
are furious over widespread human
rights abuses by Russian troops in the
Caucasus republic, experts say.
Basayev, a top leader of the long and
bloody Chechen separatist rebellion,
also has benefited from incompetence
in the Russian intelligence agencies and
military, who have repeatedly failed to
prevent terror attacks.
A letter attributed to Basayev and post-
ed on a Web-site affiliated with Chechen
rebels, has claimed responsibility for a
recent terror wave that in two weeks saw
the taking of more than 1,200 hostages at
the school, the blowing of two planes out
of the sky with near simultaneous explo-
sions, and a suicide bombing at a Mos-
cow subway station.
There was no way to confirm the
note's authenticity. Basayev alleged
Russian forces had provoked the bloody
end to the school siege in Beslan by
storming the building. More than 330
people died - nearly half of them chil-
dren. The plane explosions killed 90
people; the metro attack killed nine plus
"We regret what happened in Beslan. It's
simply that the war, which (Russian Presi-
dent Vladimir) Putin declared on us five
years ago, which has destroyed more than
40,000 Chechen children and crippled more
than 5,000 of them, has gone back to where
it started fom'he wrote in the letter.
Basayev, born in Vedeno in southern
Chechnya, is believed to have been deeply
affected by the May 1995 Russian bomb-
ing of the mountain village, in which sev-
eral of his family members were killed.
One of Basayev's most infamous attacks
took place the following month, when he
led some 200 fighters in a siege of a hospi-
tal in southern Russia and took hundreds
of hostages. Russian forces stormed the
building, and more than 100 civilians
died. Basayev and his men escaped.
His otherclaimed terrorattacks include
this May's bombing in the Chechen capi-
tal Grozny that killed Kremlin-backed
regional president Akhmad Kadyrov.
He also said he helped orchestrate the
October 2002 siege at a Moscow theater
where some 800 people were taken hos-
tage. At least 129 hostages died, mostly
from effects of a narcotic gas Russian
forces used to subdue the attackers.
After the latest attacks, Russia's Fed-
eral Security Service offered a reward of
$10.3 million for information that could
help "neutralize" Basayev and Aslan
Maskhadov, another rebel leader.
The main challenge in captur-
ing Basayev is widespread sympa-
thy among the Chechen people, said
independent Russian military analyst
"When (security forces) Hme they
are reported imiediately7 he said. add-
ing that women and children are part of
the network of informers who long ago
identified the undercover vehicles used
by Russian agents.
Sergei Markov, an analyst with close
ties to the Kremlin. lamented that the
post-Soviet shake-up in Russia has
reduced the formerly omnipotent KGB
to a shadow of its former self, robbing
the intelligence agency of the ability to
infiltrate militant circles.
"In these conditions. the revival of
the main instrument in the war on ter-
rorism - a network of agents - is pro-
ceeding with great difficulty." he said.
"How do you find agents among vari-
ous ethnic groups? They have known
each other since childhood, from the
clans and the courtyards."
U.N. threatens to punish Sudan
if militia violence not put to end
UNITED NATIONS (AP) - A
divided U.N. Security Council approved
a resolution this weekend threatening oil
sanctions against Sudan unless the gov-
ernment reins in Arab militias blamed
* for a 19-month killing and looting spree
in Darfur that the
United States has
The vote was 11 to
0 with four absten-
tions - China,
China, a per-
member, said imme-
diately after the vote
that it would veto
any future resolu-
tion that sought to
"I told the Amer-
are not ah
means to a
It will only
violence and bring the perpetrators to
justice - or if it doesn't cooperate with
an African Union monitoring force.
The resolution strongly endorses
the deployment of a beefed-up African
Union force with an expanded monitor-
ing mission that
s believe would actively try to
prevent attacks and
ions mediate to stop the
conflict from esca-
zelpful lating. More than
50,000 people have
achieve already died and
more than 1.2 mil-
lion have fled their
Smakehomes to escape the
eral Kofi Annan,
who was in the
Wang Guangya council chamber
N. Ambassador for the vote, also
was authorized to
President Bush and Congress - a
charge immediately rejected by U.S.
Ambassador John Danforth.
In an angry rebuttal, Erwa accused
the U.S. Congress of believing "it is
the only conscience of the world, and
indeed that they have the divine right to
decide on the destinies of peoples."
But, he added, millions of people
see "the shortcomings and the faults"
of the United States, including the
killings of civilians in Afghanistan
and Iraq and the infliction of "tor-
ture on prisoners and innocent peo-
ple in prisons in Afghanistan, Iraq
Danforth denounced the state-
ment as an "unseemly and uncalled
for attack on the United States."
"President Bush's interest in Sudan
has been intense, maybe ever since
he took office," said Danforth, noting
that the president appointed him as his
envoy to Sudan five days before the
Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. "This
is not something that comes in an elec-
tion year. This is something that he has
... been personally involved in for a
long, long time."
Wang also said some council mem-
bers questioned the timing of the resolu-
tion in relation "to domestic politics."
The United States revised the reso-
lution-three times, each time softening
language to try to get broader support
and avert a Chinese veto.
that the position of my government on
sanctions is a firm one," said China's
U.N. Ambassador Wang Guangya. "We
always believe that sanctions are not a
helpful means to achieve political objec-
tives. It will only make matters worse."
The resolution says the council would
have to meet again to consider sanc-
tions against Sudan's petroleum sector'
or other punitive measures if the gov-
ernment doesn't act quickly to stop the
rapidly appoint an
international commission to investigate
reports of human rights violations in
Darfur and determine "whether or not
acts of genocide have occurred."
Sudan's U.N. Ambassador Elfatih
Erwa called the resolution "unfair," but
said his government would implement it
despite "the injustices it contains."
Erwa accused the United Statesn
of introducing the measure solely to
achieve "the political objectives" of
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Time: 4:30 PM - 6:30 PM
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