Mystery grows over Chechen Dubai attack
The mystery over a former Russian army commander from Chechnya believed to have been murdered in Dubai deepened on Tuesday as his relatives insisted he was merely wounded and not dead, reported AFP.
Sulim Yamadayev, a bitter foe of Chechnya's leader, was shot in an apparent assassination attempt on Saturday outside a luxury hotel in the emirate and then died of his wounds on Monday, Dubai police have said.
The confusion coincides with a visit to Moscow Tuesday by the United Arab Emirates prime minister and the possible lifting of an anti-terror operation that has been in place in Chechnya for the last decade.
The Kommersant daily said Sulim's brother Isa told its correspondent that Yamadayev had regained consciousness in hospital, while his wife Milena told the newspaper he was alive but in serious condition.
The same brother, who is in Dubai, also told Vremya Novostei that although wounded in the head, stomach and chest, Sulim Yamadayev was still alive.
"The funerals have been cancelled," commented the paper. Russian officials in the United Arab Emirates said he had been living under the assumed name of Sulaiman Madov.
But an Emirati government official, who asked not to be identified, denied the Russian media reports that Yamadayev was merely badly injured and said he was indeed dead.
A former Chechen separatist, Yamadayev switched sides in the late 1990s and became the commander of Vostok, an elite battalion that fought the rebels. He was honoured with Russia's top decoration, the Hero of Russia award.
He was dismissed from the military late last year amid bitter rivalry with Chechnya's leader Ramzan Kadyrov, while Russian police issued an arrest warrant against him over the kidnapping of a Chechen businessman in 1998.
Russia fought two wars with rebel forces in Chechnya but the situation has stabilised under Kadyrov, another ex-rebel turned pro-Moscow leader who has been accused by rights groups of using heavy-handed tactics against opponents.
Due to the improved security situation, Russia's national anti-terrorism council is expected Tuesday to consider lifting the official state of anti-terror operation in Chechnya that has been in place for the last decade.
UAE Prime Minister and ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum was in Moscow on Tuesday for talks with Russian leaders on a previously arranged visit.