Russian law enforcement agencies have disrupted the activities of several international terrorist cells in Russia’s Far Eastern region over the last two years.
More than 20 foreign citizens connected with terrorist organizations have been uncovered in the Far East over the last two and half years, the head of the National Antiterrorist Committee (NAC) Aleksandr Bortnikov has said. He presided over a visiting meeting in Vladivostok on Tuesday, which was devoted to APEC security issues.
Over 20 individuals suspected of being connected with international terrorist organizations, including the Islamic Movement of Tajikistan and Hizb ut-Tahrir al-Islami, were identified and extradited from Russia, Bortnikov said. This year, three citizens from Uzbekistan were detained for their involvement in terrorist organizations. They had been dodging investigators who were looking into their extremist crimes, the NAC head said.
Another dangerous trend is the rise of radicalism among the young who use “means of terror,” including home-made explosive devices. Young nationalist and extremist far-right organizations often use violence to achieve their objectives, Bortnikov noted. He said that the activities of an armed group who attacked citizens of China and the Union of Slavs and the Russian Club were stopped in the Primorsky (Maritime) Region.
Over 70 extremist crimes and acts of terrorism were committed in the Far East over the last two and a half years. In 2009-2010, several cells of the Tablighi Jamaat movement were exposed and 14 members of a skinhead extremist youth movement were detained. The illegal activities of a neo-fascist organization were thwarted in Sakhalin, among other regions.
Bortnikov stressed that one of the priorities for local authorities should be to fight against the ideology which fuels terrorism and extremism, as well as to take preventative measures to curb new members from joining radical and terrorist organizations.
The current level of anti-terrorist protection in the region is not sufficient, Bortnikov noted. In particular, the NAC is concerned about the lack of security measures at major retail complexes, markets, and transport facilities.
The head of the anti-terrorist body called on local authorities to undertake additional measures to prevent the illegal turnover of weapons, ammunition and explosives in the Far East region. Among other steps, the sites of former Defense Ministry military arsenals and artillery ranges should be cleared out.