The Russian authorities have stepped up security measures in the area of Sochi, where the Winter Olympics will take place next in a few weeks. As the Olympics near, so grow the concerns of Russian government and international community over the security issues in the southern Russian districts.
Russian media reported today that a newly identified Chechen suspect is on the loose. Hotels in and around Sochi were told to be on the lookout for a female terror suspect, who is roughly 22 years old. The photograph of Ruzanna Ibragimova identified as the prime suspect has already been posted throughout the area and played back on TV channels across the country.
She’s believed to be a cell within the Chechen terrorist organization which was moved from Dagestan – one of Russia’s southern provinces bordering its Chechen province – to Sochi, where the international athletes will be competing next month. Ibragimova is said to be a “black widow” – term often applied to the widows of former militants who had been killed by Russian security forces or those who had committed suicide bombings in belief to be fighting for their cause.
According to CNN, which reportedly obtained a copy of a flyer about the suspect, Ibragimova is believed to be involved in “a terrorist act within the 2014 Olympic region.” Authorities believe, the “black widow” may have arrived in the area last week.
Black widows are recognized as another security challenge for Russian law enforcement because elimination of terrorist cells or militants in a group does not resolve a given problem. Their wives who in accordance with traditional Muslim cultures in North Caucasus, are committed to their spouses through the other world, and most do not remarry. Therefore, once married females are another breeding ground for terrorist networks.
One of the most infamous attacks where “black widows” participated in was the Beslan attacks in a school in September 2004, which ended up with 385 dead, majority being children. Among the killed were women identified as widows of Chechen militants who had been killed by government security forces in the second Chechen war.
As the security concerns grow in Sochi, the U.S. military has reportedly organized two warships and several transport aircraft on standby to evacuate any American officials and athletes if the need arises, CNN reported. The contingency plan includes launching helicopters to Sochi from U.S. warships in the Black Sea and C-17 transport aircraft on standby in Germany ready to arrive in Sochi within two hours.