U.S. names Caucasus Islamist group to terrorism list

Reuters News
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Posted: May 26, 2011 9:53 AM
U.S. names Caucasus Islamist group to terrorism list

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States on Thursday named an Islamist insurgent group in Russia's North Caucasus to its official list of terrorist groups and offered a reward of up to $5 million for information leading to the location of its leader.

The State Department said Doku Umarov, who leads the "Caucasus Emirate" group which has mounted attacks in Chechnya and other mainly Muslim regions in the North Caucasus, was responsible for suicide bombings and other acts of terrorism.

"The U.S. Department of State has authorized a reward of up to $5 million for information leading to the location of Doku Umarov," the department said.

The Caucasus Emirate, also known as Imarat Kavkaz, or IK, has been blamed for numerous attacks including an assault on a Russian high-speed train in November 2009 and a suicide bombing outside the Chechnya Interior Ministry in May 2009, the State Department said.

Umarov has also claimed responsibility for attacks elsewhere in Russia, including a suicide bombing that killed 37 people at Moscow's busiest airport in January and twin bombings that killed 40 on Moscow's metro in March 2010.

"The attacks perpetrated by Caucasus Emirate illustrate the global nature of the terrorist problem we face today. We stand in solidarity with the Russian people in our condemnation of these deplorable terrorist acts," Daniel Benjamin, the Department of State's counterterrorism chief, said in a statement.

The United States named Umarov to its list of "specially designated global terrorists" in June 2010.

In a video posted in February, Umarov said Russia would face "a year of blood and tears" if it refused to abandon its North Caucasus territories and in a separate interview posted this month he said the killing of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden would not stop Islamist insurgencies.

"By all indications, it is clear that the world is in a position in which the death of jihadi leaders will not stop the revival of Islam," he said.

(Editing by Eric Beech)