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Chechen opposition leader denies ties to Tsarnaev brothers

April 23rd, 2013
04:41 PM ET

By Samuel Burke, CNN

Chechen opposition leader in exile Akhmed Zakayev denied on Tuesday that the Tsarnaev brothers have any ties to militant groups in Chechnya in an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour.

“Of course not,” Zakayev said about any suspicions of ties. “Our great regrets is that the suspects of this crime are ethnic Chechens – it’s true. But I can assure you, however, that the Chechen people do not have any motives or reasons to have some feelings [against] the United States.”

On behalf of his community, Zakayev expressed condolences to those were injured, as well to the families of the victims who were killed.

Chechnya, in southern Russia, has long been a troubled region, with its own history of terrorism.

United States authorities are investigating whether the Tsarnaev brothers, in allegedly planning the Boston bombings, had any Chechen funding or training.

So far, American authorities say that communications from the surviving brother, Dzhokhar, indicate that the two were not directed by any international terrorist group.

Instead, they appear to have been radicalized by Islamic extremist literature and videos on the internet.

The Washington Post reports that Dzhokhar told authorities that he and his brother were also motivated by America's wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

There are Chechens who have joined anti-Americans in that region, but Zakayev doesn’t believe those connections played in role with the Tsarnaev brothers.

“I should admit in the Northern Caucuses we have really [radicalized] Islamic movements,” but Zakayev said it has to do with the political conflict in that area, not with problems with the West. “We are not Islamic international terrorists.”

READ MORE: Did al Qaeda magazine inspire Tsarnaev brothers?

Filed under:  Boston bombings • Latest Episode
soundoff (9 Responses)
  1. jimmy lim

    The sad truth is, rightly or wrongly, that most muslims will blame their problems on US. Even chechens. But what has US got to do Chehnya? Absolutely zil. Chechens should take it out on Russia if any. Russia flattened Grozny and massacred many chechens at the height of Chehnya war with Russia when it tried to break away. Russia unlike US was brutal. But you have americans who still think the BOston brothers innocent, not terrorists and more related to Columbine as said by Philp Mudd.Cant be further from the truth

    April 24, 2013 at 1:37 am | Reply
  2. raj

    Its a home grown terror every country faces this truth but many continue to have a huge propoganda and mind was teen groups to take revenge what makes it more brutal is these new young folks are so much motivated and pull up the hatred that they are willing to sacrifice their life and family for the so called the cause and the belief and thats scary when one doesnt appreciate his life you cannt expect him to appreciate others life too the ideology must be changed these teasching units must be stopped and punsihed openly and broadly life is priceless and so its cause....

    April 24, 2013 at 4:13 am | Reply
  3. jimmy lim

    Yes there must severe punishment for radicalisation to deter such heinous crimes from being committed

    April 24, 2013 at 4:27 am | Reply
  4. Jackie Chan

    The truth is they could have been from any Muslim country, from Chechenya, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan or Egypt to Iran. Why is it so easily to brainwash these young Muslim men to commit atrocities against peaceful strangers, even if they lived here for >10 years? It can't be just the promise of 40 juicy virgins – can't they get enough of that on the Internet.?

    April 24, 2013 at 5:08 am | Reply
  5. TAP3X

    And so you believe this guy??? Like we believe the surviving brother and his story to the FBI about their lack of involvement with anyone, or any group, but themselves ? Left Wing Denials and complacency is running rampant in the USA... Sheeple's among us!

    "History is likely to record that 1986 was the year when the world, at long last, came to grips with the plague of terrorism. For too long, the world was paralyzed by the argument that terrorism could not be stopped until the grievances of terrorists were addressed. The complicated and heartrending issues that perplex mankind are no excuse for violent, inhumane attacks, nor do they excuse not taking aggressive action against those who deliberately slaughter innocent people..."

    Former President Ronald Reagan
    Radio Address to the Nation on Terrorism
    May 31, 1986 Camp David, MD

    April 24, 2013 at 1:29 pm | Reply
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