Moscow : Russian investigators said on Tuesday they had detained two suspected Islamists who planned to blow up a chemical storage facility in central Russia, reports AFP.
The two natives of Russia’s volatile North Caucasus region had since September been preparing a “terrorist act” at the chemical storage facility in the central Kirov region that could have put the lives of “hundreds of people” at risk, investigators said in a statement.
“According to the investigators, the suspects are Wahhabi followers and have come to the Kirov region from Moscow,” the statement said, referring to an ultra-conservative branch of Islam.
“The act was being prepared with the aim of influencing decision-making by authorities and international organisations,” the statement said without providing specifics. Investigators said the suspects, aged 19 and 21, had planned to use a home-made explosive against the chemicals facility, adding that “extremist literature” had been found at their place of residence.
The leader of Russia’s Islamist rebels, Doku Umarov, has been seeking to impose an Islamist state throughout Russia’s mainly Muslim Northern Caucasus region and has for years been waging deadly insurgency against the Russian security forces there. He has also ordered his foot soldiers to target Russian infrastructure outside the troubled North Caucasus.
The group claimed several atrocities including a deadly Moscow airport bombing in 2011 and a metro attack in 2010.
The Kremlin fought two wars against separatists in Chechnya after the fall of the Soviet Union but the rebellion then became more Islamist in tone and also spread to neighbouring Ingushetia and Dagestan.