Islamist rebel urges 'total war' with Russia

3rd March 2011, Comments 0 comments

The Chechen Islamist rebel leader who is Russia's most wanted man has issued an appeal for recruits for a "total war" against the Russian state, in a new video message posted on Thursday.

"A total war is in progress, fight the enemy where ever you can," Doku Umarov said standing alongside two other militants in a snow-covered forest in a video posted on militant website

As well as repeating calls for women to join the rebellion, Umarov called on Russian Muslims from outside the Caucasus like the Volga regions of Tatarstan and Bashkortostan to join the insurgency.

"Jihad is becoming necessary for all of us," Umarov said, wearing snow camouflage. "Spring has come, so, brothers, I ask you to step up Jihad against enemies of Allah.

"Today children don't have to ask their parents for permission to start Jihad, wives don't have to ask their husbands' permission," he said, standing between two younger men one of whom clutched onto a Kalashnikov rifle with a grenade launcher.

The outside conditions appeared to prevent the full message from being recorded as gusts of wind silenced parts of his eight-minute address, while the person holding the camera periodically said short prayers in a loud whisper.

"I call on you to destroy Allah's enemies wherever you have them, wherever your hands reach you may open a front... When there is a total war, there are no more civilian objects or civilian population," Umarov said, addressing Muslims outside the Caucasus region.

Umarov, whose Caucasus Emirate group aims to impose Islamic rule throughout the Northern Caucasus, has claimed responsibility for the Moscow airport attack in January that killed 37 and the 2010 metro attacks that killed 40.

He and his band of guerrillas have avoided Russian troops in the North Caucasus mountains for much of the past decade, and officials have wrongly pronounced him dead several times.

The Kremlin fought two wars against separatist rebels in Chechnya in the past 15 years. But the insurgency has since become more Islamist in tone and much of the violence has spread to neighbouring regions.

© 2011 AFP

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