Russian Prez fires transport police chief after suicide blast

Medvedev warned of more dismissals if officers didn`t perform their duties.

Last Updated: Jan 26, 2011, 20:38 PM IST

Moscow: Russian President Dmitry Medvedev
on Wednesday sacked the chief of the country`s transport police in
the wake of the suicide attack at Moscow`s international
airport that claimed 35 lives and warned of more dismissals if
the officers did not perform their duties properly.

"I have signed a decree relieving (Maj Gen Andrei)
Alekseyev of his duties as head of the Interior Ministry
transport security directorate," Medvedev said.

He warned that more dismissals will follow.

According to Russian media, Alexeyev had only been in the
post in the Interior Ministry since last year
Medvedev ordered Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliyev to
"shake up" the entire transport police to ensure daily
transport security, Ria Novosti reported.

"If people don`t understand how to work, we`ll find other
people," Medvedev was quoted as saying.

The President had yesterday criticised airport security
and said those responsible would be "punished."

Russia needs a modern colour-coded security system in the
transport sector similar to the systems used in the West,
Medvedev said.

Monday`s blast at the arrivals zone of the Domodedovo
airport killed 35 people and injured over 180 others. No group
has yet taken responsibility for the attack, which came less
than a year after after two woman suicide bombers from the
volatile North Caucasus struck the Moscow metro killing 40
people.

The identity of the terrorists who carried out the blast
at the airport has not yet been officially confirmed, with
some reports suggesting the attack was carried out by a `black
widow` of a slain militant in North Caucasus, who was
accompanied by a man.

However, some other local media reports, quoting police
sources, said that unlike in the previous cases of terror
strikes in the capital, the attack at the Domodedovo airport
was carried out by a man, who was not an ethnic Caucasian nor
a `black widow`.

The Life.ru web portal published a picture of the head of
the suicide bomber, which it claims looks more like an Arab
and not Caucasian.

However, newsru.com website does not rule out that the
suicide bomber could be from the so called `Nugai Jamaat`
extremist Islamist group active in Russia`s North Caucasian
republic of Daghestan and Stavropol territory.

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has said that "retribution
is inevitable".

"This was an abominable crime in both its senselessness
and its cruelty," he said last night, offering government help
to the families of those affected.

Meanwhile, Russia`s national capital region observed a
day of mourning today for the victims of Monday`s suicide
attack. The flags flew at half mast and all public forms of
entertainment had been cancelled.

PTI