Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Boston suspects' homeland has seen decades of war, terror

The body of a Russian soldier lies near a group of Chechen fighters outside the presidential palace in central Grozny in this 1994 photograph taken during the separatist war.  

Associated Press (1994)

The body of a Russian soldier lies near a group of Chechen fighters outside the presidential palace in central Grozny in this 1994 photograph taken during the separatist war. 

MAKHACHKALA, Russia — Russia's volatile North Caucasus region, which the two suspects in the Boston Marathon bombings once called home, has seen two decades of brutal fighting between Russian forces and separatists bent on carving out an independent Islamic state.

There was no information on any possible links between the suspects and any insurgent group. The Chechen government described Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev as ethnic Chechens whose family left Chechnya long ago and moved to Central Asia.

Before moving to the United States a decade ago, their uncle said, the brothers lived briefly in Makhachkala, the capital of Dagestan. Their father lives there now.

The conflict in Chechnya began in 1994 as a separatist war but quickly morphed into an Islamic insurgency dedicated to forming an Islamic state in the Caucasus. Dagestan has since become the epicenter of the insurgency.

Russian troops withdrew from Chechnya in 1996 after the first Chechen war, leaving it de-facto independent and largely lawless, but then rolled back in three years later after apartment building explosions in Moscow and other cities blamed on the rebels.

Russia faced strong international criticism for its indiscriminate use of force against civilians and other rights abuses in Chechnya. The two separatist wars killed an estimated 100,000 people, and Russian bombing reduced most of Chechnya's capital, Grozny, and other towns and villages to rubble, sending tens of thousands fleeing.

Chechnya has stabilized under the steely grip of Kremlin-backed local strongman Ramzan Kadyrov, a former rebel whose forces have been accused of severe human rights abuses. But the Islamic insurgency has spread to neighboring provinces, with Dagestan — sandwiched between Chechnya and the Caspian Sea — becoming the epicenter of violence. Militants launch daily attacks against police and other authorities.

Militants from Chechnya and neighboring provinces have carried out a long series of terrorist attacks in Russia, including a 2002 raid of a Moscow theater, in which 129 hostages died, a 2004 hostage-taking at a school in the southern city of Beslan that killed more than 330 people, and numerous bombings in Moscow and other cities.

Boston suspects' homeland has seen decades of war, terror 04/19/13 [Last modified: Friday, April 19, 2013 11:04pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rays waste repeated opportunities in 5-3 loss to Blue Jays

    The Heater

    TORONTO — Rays manager Kevin Cash made a case for urgency before Thursday's game, in both actions and words, making significant changes to the structure of the lineup and sincere comments about time running short.

    Trevor Plouffe of the Rays reacts as he pops out with the bases loaded in the sixth inning. [Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images]
  2. Spanish PM voices solidarity with Barcelona

    World

    BARCELONA, Spain — Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy says his country is mourning in solidarity with the city of Barcelona and other cities in Europe that have been hit by deadly extremist attacks.

    An injured person is treated in Barcelona, Spain, Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017 after a white van jumped the sidewalk in the historic Las Ramblas district, crashing into a summer crowd of residents and tourists and injuring several people, police said. [Associated Press]
  3. Confederate statue: Why Bucs, Lightning, Rays took a stand

    Bucs

    They didn't want another Charlottesville.

    Marc Rodriguez, a member of the "Florida Fight for $15" organization, stands in protest along with other activists demanding the Confederate  monument be removed from the old Hillsborough County Courthouse in Tampa. [OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times]
  4. Rep. Larry Ahern gets roughed up by Clearwater City Council

    State Roundup

    It seemed innocuous enough: an "end of session report" from state Rep. Larry Ahern, R-Seminole, to the Clearwater City Council.

    Then Ahern got taken to the woodshed.

    Rep. Larry Ahern is vying for a seat on the Pinellas commission.
  5. Hillsborough County erects wooden barrier to protect Confederate monument from vandalism

    Public Safety

    TAMPA — Hillsborough County workers began constructing a wooden barrier around the base of the Confederate monument by the old county courthouse Thursday evening.

    A Hillsborough County construction crew erects a wooden barrier around the Confederate monument at the old county courthouse Thursday, out of concern about potential vandalism. [Courtesy of WTSP]