Kyrgyzstan-born man the main suspect in St. Petersburg subway bombing

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BISHKEK (TCA) — Observers say that increased document checks of thousands of migrant workers in St. Petersburg may lead to a wider clampdown on migrant workers, especially those from Central Asia, after Russian authorities have identified a Kyrgyzstan-born man as the main suspect in the April 3 blast in a subway train in Russia’s second-largest city.

The Russian Investigative Committee on April 4 said that Akbarjon Jalilov, 22, is the leading suspect in the April 3 bombing that killed 14 people and injured 50 others, RFE/RL reported.

The statement came hours after Kyrgyzstan’s State Committee for National Security said that Jalilov, a Kyrgyz-born Russian citizen, was the main suspect in the Russian bombing.

The Committee’s spokesman Rakhat Sulaimanov said Jalilov was born in the southern Kyrgyz region of Osh in 1995, and that his parents were being questioned by Kyrgyz security officers there.

The Russian statement also said that investigators found “genetic traces” of Jalilov on a backpack that contained an unexploded bomb and was discovered later on April 3 at another subway station in St. Petersburg, Ploshchad Vosstania.

“Genetic testing and recordings from monitoring cameras give investigators reason to believe that the person who carried out the terrorist act in the [subway] car left the bag with the bomb at the Ploshchad Vosstania metro station,” it said.

The Investigative Committee said earlier on April 4 that the bomber’s remains were found in the third car of the train that was hit by the blast while traveling between two stations in the city center.

The St. Petersburg news site Fontanka.ru on April 3 suggested in a report that 22-year-old university student Maksim Aryshev, a citizen of Kazakhstan, was the chief suspect, but the Kazakh Foreign Ministry later denied this, saying he was a victim.

Three foreigners — from Uzbekistan, Belarus, and Tajikistan — were among the injured, according to St. Petersburg Governor Georgy Poltavchenko.

No group has claimed responsibility for the bombing so far.

At an April 4 meeting with his Kyrgyz counterpart, Erlan Abdyldaev, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called for increased international cooperation against terrorism.

“I would like to once again express gratitude to our Kyrgyz friends and allies for again showing the importance of stepping up joint efforts to combat this evil,” Lavrov said.

Sergey Kwan

TCA