Russia’s most wanted Chechen rebel commander Dokou Oumarov says he is stepping down for health reasons and has appointed a successor to carry on waging jihad against Moscow’s rule in the north Caucasus.
The man chosen to lead the Islamist insurgency there has been named as Aslambek Vadalov.
Oumarov has admitted being behind a string of attacks in recent months including the bombing of the Moscow metro that killed at least 40 people and injured 100 more.
Russia is fighting a renewed insurgency in the many Muslim regions along its southern flank.
Rebels have been staging regular attacks on civilians and security forces. The Kremlin believes the bombing of a hydro-electric plant in the Republic of Kabardino-Balkaria last month could signal a change of tactics. The rebels are now thought to be focusing on economic targets.