On March 1 in Makhachkala, Dagestan imprisoned Chechen terrorists identified the dead body of one of their most notorious commanders - Ruslan (Khamzat) Gelaev.
The terrorist leader was killed neither by commandos nor by special servicemen, but by two young frontier guards. They ran into him in the outskirts of their native village.
According to Kommersant newspaper, on February 28 Gelaev’s bodyguard and herder took Gelaev to the lower part of Chaekha ravine stretching from Chechen village Bezhty to Pankisskoe ravine in Georgia. There Black Angel (the call-sign of Gelaev) said good-bye to his companions and started climbing the ravine. After losing all his soldiers in unsuccessful raid in Dagestan, Gelaev decided to go through the mountain passes to his main base in Pankisskoe ravine in Georgia where his wives, children and relatives are living. The terrorist leader started most of his raids from Pankisskoe ravine. He recruited people from all the area of the former USSR for his military units.
This time Gelaev failed to reach the ravine. According to the information of the police station in Bezhta village, at the same time two 22-year old local residents – soldiers Abdulkhalik Kurbanov and Mukhtar Suleimanov were climbing down Chaekha ravine. After completing their mandatory military service in a small frontier post, the young men continued guarding the state border on contract basis. The frontier post was only 10 kilometers away from their native village, and the soldiers used to visit the village to have a meal, meet girlfriends or spend a weekend. On Saturday of February 28 Abdulkhalik Kurbanov wanted to visit his wife (he married only two months before), and Mukhtar Suleimanov who was not married decided to make a company to his fellow-soldier.
Even the most experienced frontier guard would hardly recognize Gelaev in the man the two soldiers ran into. Ruffled beard, black shabby pants from jumpsuit, old parka and rubber boots made him look like a beggar, not a dangerous terrorist commander.
It is hard to say what exactly happened. Probably, one of the frontier guards called Gelaev or tried to check his ID – and the militant opened fire from his machine-gun. Gelaev fired point-blankly, probably he was hiding his short-barreled machine-gun under his parka until the very last moment, and both the frontier guards immediately fell bleeding heavily. The bullet hit the head of Soldier Suleimanov and immediately killed him. Abdulkhalik Kurbanov was wounded in his chest, but was able to fire back. His bullets shattered Gelaev’s left elbow and tore away his hand. This did not spot the militant – he killed the soldier with two point-blank shot into his head. Gelaev was holding his machine-gun with one hand.
Black Angel himself had little time to live. The traces on the snow witnessed the last moments of the terrorist’s life.
Immediately after the fight Gelaev ran up to the ravine, but he was able to run only about 50 meters – he became weaker with every step because blood was pouring out of his hand. Gelaev was fighting for life until the very last moment. He stopped, cut off his left hand with the knife and threw it onto the snow. Then he took tourniquet out of his first-aid kit and put it on the wound, made several steps, fell, got up again. He walked another 50 meters and stopped, took a can of coffee out of his pocket and chewed some coffee powder. Probably Gelaev hoped this would give him more strength. Then he took out and bit a bar of chocolate.
Gelaev was grabbling his last meters to the Georgian border. He died in this pose with his hand gripping the bar of chocolate. Policemen looking for the lost frontier guards found his dead body.
To see photos, go to http://www1.newsteam.ru/reports/index.html?1,70,2