US offers $5 million reward for Russian Islamist
The United States on Thursday offered a reward of up to $5 million to anyone who helps locate Doku Umarov, Russia's most wanted Islamist rebel leader.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton meanwhile took action aimed at stemming the flow of funds and other aid to the so-called Caucasus Emirate, which Umarov heads, the State Department said in a statement.
The group has vowed to use violence to set up an Islamic emirate in the North Caucasus, southern Russia, and Volga regions of the Russian Federation, with Umarov as its emir, it recalled.
Through the rewards-for-justice program, "the US Department of State has authorized a reward of up to $5 million for information leading to the location of Doku Umarov," the State Department said in a statement.
The State Department vowed to keep all information confidential.
Clinton meanwhile designated the so-called emirate also known as Imarat Kavkaz (IK) under a presidential order which targets terrorists and those providing support to terrorists, terrorist organizations or acts of terrorism.
"This action will help stem the flow of financial and other assistance to the group," the State Department said.
"The action taken today against IK supports the US effort to degrade the group's ability to mount attacks on Russian interests," it said.
"We are determined to eliminate the group's ability to direct violent attacks and to disrupt, dismantle and defeat IK's network," it added.
The news of the reward offer came as Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and US President Barack Obama met on the sidelines of the G8 summit in Deauville, France, to discuss controversial US missile defense plans, the economy, counter-terrorism and Russia's pending entry into the World Trade Organization.
The CE has claimed responsibility for attacks including the Moscow metro suicide bombings that killed 40 people in March last year.
Umarov said he broadly supported the recent uprisings in Arab countries because they swept Western-backed "puppets" from power.
© 2011 AFP