A suspect blew himself up Sunday as police closed in on him after he murdered opposition politician Boris Y. Nemtsov. Another man was already detained in the killing, according to Gawker. Russian authorities say he had served as a police officer in the fight against Islamic insurgents.
Five suspects were due to be arraigned at Basmanny District Court in Moscow, Vladimir Markin, a spokesman for Russia’s Investigative Committee, said in a statement. Security forces established a cordon around the court.
One suspect blew himself up with a grenade after tossing another one at law enforcement officials outside of his apartment. The incident occurred in Grozny, the capital of Chechnya, which borders Ingushetia. Police were outside the suspect’s apartment demanding that he surrender.
All the men detained so far were Chechens. No one else was injured in the blasts, the report said.
The two prime suspects, whose names have been officially confirmed, are Zaur Dadayev and Anzar Kubashev, whose arrest was announced on Saturday. There was no announcement from law enforcement agencies confirming the names of the other three suspects although details of further detentions emerged overnight.
After the one suspect blew himself up, there had been no official police announcement about further arrests.
Mourners on Saturday at the site where the Russian opposition figure Boris Y. Nemtsov was shot and killed in February in Moscow.
The arrests and the police activity were centered in the Northern Caucasus, long a trouble spot for Russia, but there was still no coherent picture of the case from Russia’s law enforcement agencies as scattershot details emerged.
In the North Caucasus, the acting head of the Security Council in Ingushetia, Albert Barakhoev, was quoted by the state-run news agencies, Tass and RIA Novosti, as saying that two other men were in police custody, with all four arrests having taken place there.
Barakhoev revealed some new information about the suspects, including the fact that Dadayev had worked as a law enforcement officer, serving as deputy commander of a battalion of Interior Ministry troops assigned to fight Islamist insurgents, according to the Daily Telegraph. It was unclear whether he was still with the unit.
The other main suspect, Kubashev, had worked for a private security company in Moscow as a guard in a hypermarket, according to Barakhoev. Both are between 30 and 35 years old.
Ajmani Dadayev, the mother of Dadayev, told state television that the Kubashev brothers were her nephews. The suspects had worked in Moscow for years without any problems, she said.
There have been a series of high-profile murders of government critics in Russia over the past two decades in which the mastermind was never identified.
Last June, for example, Moscow’s highest criminal court sentenced five men, all from the North Caucasus, to prison for the 2006 murder of the investigative journalist Anna Politkovskaya. But her supporters stress that the question of who ordered her killing remains open.
Politkovskaya was a scathing critic of Kremlin policies in Chechnya and of the local strongman, Ramzan A. Kadyrov.
After two wars in the 1990s, which leveled Grozny, President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia essentially subcontracted control over Chechnya to Kadyrov.
The suspect who blew himself up is just one of several mishaps in recent weeks. There had been no official police announcement about further arrests. In recent weeks, Kadyrov and his supporters have assumed a highly visible role in the movement that seeks to block any attempt to recreate in Russia the kind of political upheaval that forced a change in government in neighboring Ukraine, notes the Huffington Post. More broadly, these figures support the conservative, nationalistic, anti-Western ideology that Putin has made a signature of his third term.