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WARLORD KILLED IN CHECHNYA WAS EX-U.S. MARINE

RIA Novosti

MOSCOW, March 24. (RIA Novosti)-Rizvan Chitigov, who was killed in the district center Shali in Chechnya on Wednesday and was the third most influential warlord after Shamil Basayev and Doku Umarov, had graduated from an elite U.S. subversion and reconnaissance school and had served on a contract basis in a U.S. Marine battalion, Kommersant reports.

Marine dog tags indicating his name, and date and place of birth, were discovered on his body.

In the early 1990s, Chitigov went to America using the assistance of an international Muslim fund, which had a mission in Chechnya. Returning to Shali in 1994, he told his compatriots that he could have forged a career in the U.S. Navy (and was subsequently called "the American" after that), but a warlord, Khattab, persuaded him to return to his native republic.

Chitigov initially fought under Khattab and commanded the only tank battalion the self-proclaimed Chechen Republic of Ichkeria had. He began the second Chechen campaign in Grozny but later escaped to the mountains and Georgia. Operational information acquired in summer 2001 said he was planning to use chemical and bacteriological weapons against federal forces. Soon "the American's" secret base with a batch of homemade ricin was found. This is when Chitigov received his second alias, "the Chemist."

Several days ago, the security services intercepted a mobile telephone conversation and established where Chitigov could be hiding after spending the winter in Baku. A three-room flat was checked three times, but nobody was found. But when the security service officers were leaving the flat the fourth time, they heard a noise.

It turned out that Chitigov had spent over three days in a small niche in a wall masked by tiles. The terrorist was in a hurry to leave the flat and dropped a tiled panel on the floor. He opened fire at the policemen who rushed back into the flat but missed and was killed by return fire.



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