Chechen Bombing Suspects: Dzhokar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev Are From Chechnya

As of 9 a.m. Friday morning, one of two suspects the FBI has identified from the Boston Marathon bombings is dead. The two are both reported to be brothers hailing from the region of Chechnya in Russia.

They were legal residents of the U.S.

Dzhokar Tsarnaev, 19, the younger brother is currently at large and still on the run. His older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, is said to have studied at Bunker Hill Community College.

The Chechnya region of Russia has the ethnic minority of the Chechens, a primarily Muslim sect. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, separatists from the Chechen placed bids in attempts for independence, only to result in two deadly wars and a great deal of tension between the region of Chechnya and the Muslim Chechens. According to the Council on Foreign Relations, tensions escalated in 2010 with the bombing of a metro station. The Russian army, police, and security forces have faced ongoing battles with local separatists. 

The State Department reports that the Islamic International Peacekeeping Brigade has been responsible for equipping the Chechens, with links to financing from Al-Qaeda associates. Other possible ties to Al-Qaeda have been tied to the rebel group.

After September 11, 2001, a U.S. ambassador to Russia was mentioned to have said, “We have long recognized that Osama bin Laden and other international networks have been fueling the flames in Chechnya, including the involvement of foreign commanders like Khattab.”

Generally, the Chechen separatists are known to seek out attacks on government officials, rather than civilians. One of their most fatal attacks occurred in 2004, and was lead by Shamil Basayev, Chechen radical leader. An attack on a school lead to the deaths of more than 300 people.

It is unknown what motives the suspects had if responsible for the bombings.