Russia names suicide bombers in deadly blasts ahead of Sochi games
MOSCOW - Agence France-Presse
The two were identified shortly after the attacks, the NAC said, adding that they were from an Islamist group based in Buinaksk, a town in the North Caucasus region of Dagestan. AFP PhotoRussian security services on Thursday published the names of the alleged suicide bombers who carried out two deadly blasts last month and said they had also arrested two suspected organisers.
The National Anti-Terrorist Committee (NAC) released the names in a statement just a week before the Winter Olympic Games are set to open in the Black Sea resort of Sochi.
It named the bombers who killed 34 people in the southern city of Volgograd in twin blasts on December 29 and 30 as Asker Samedov and Suleiman Magomedov.
The two were identified shortly after the attacks, the NAC said, adding that they were from an Islamist group based in Buinaksk, a town in the North Caucasus region of Dagestan.
"Previously their names were not publicised in the interests of the investigation," it added.
The statement said that security forces had also detained in Dagestan two brothers who helped the suicide bombers.
"Brothers Magomednabi and Tagir Batirov, who were involved in transporting the suicide bombers to Volgograd, have been detained," it said. A well-known North Caucasus Islamist website earlier this month posted a video of two men who it said were about to become suicide bombers in the "operation in Volgograd", naming them however as Suleiman and Abdurakhman. The video included footage of the damage and scattered dead bodies from the blasts that struck the main Volgograd train station and a trolleybus.
In the video, two young men warned of "presents" in store for President Vladimir Putin and visitors to Sochi, the Olympic host city just across a mountain range from the turbulent North Caucasus.
Sochi's proximity to the Russian North Caucasus and Georgia's rebel region of Abkhazia, whose border is just three kilometres (2 miles) from the Olympic venues, has led to unprecedented security measures.
Insurgents based in the North Caucasus are seeking to set up an Islamist state in the region and have vowed to disrupt the Sochi Games in order to undermine Putin.
Rights groups meanwhile have warned that a heavy-handed approach by security forces in the North Caucasus ahead of the Games, including mass arrests of Muslims, would only make the situation worse.