Bodyguards foil attack on Chechen exile in Istanbul


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The Independent Online

A prominent Chechen exile in Istanbul has narrowly avoided assassination after his bodyguards disarmed the would-be killer at the last minute.

The attempted murder comes less than a month after three Chechens were gunned down on an Istanbul street by a team of assassins who Turkish police believe were sent by Russia.

The latest incident occurred at the weekend and involved Shamsuddin Batukayev, formerly the chief judge in rebel Chechnya's Sharia law court, who has long lived in exile in Istanbul. According to the Turkish newspaper Sabah, Mr Batukayev was visited by a 26-year-old man named Bakhram Batumayev. After the two men spoke, the would-be assassin stepped outside for prayers, and when he returned, bodyguards noticed he had a gun equipped with a silencer. They were able to disarm him and called police.

Police later arrested Uvais Akhmadov, a notorious kidnapper for ransom in Chechnya during the lawless 1990s, who is alleged to have ordered the killing.

Berg-Khadzh Musayev, a high-ranking fighter in the terrorist Caucasus Emirate movement, was shot dead three weeks ago along with two other Chechens. Last week, The Independent revealed that Turkish police believe up to nine Russian agents were involved in that attack.

The Caucasus Emirate wants an independent Islamic state across the Russian North Caucasus.