The money, the severed ear made to eat, the escape: what do we know about the 4 arrested

On the night that shocked the “Krokus City Hall” to Fly, many questions still need to be answered. Who planned the massacre? Who completed it? And, above all: how did they manage to evade the …

The money, the severed ear made to eat, the escape: what do we know about the 4 arrested

On the night that shocked the “Krokus City Hall” to Fly, many questions still need to be answered. Who planned the massacre? Who completed it? And, above all: how did they manage to evade the controls of a semi-militarized city in a nation at war?

The attack on Moscow

Today Putin spoke to Russia and he promised revenge. He defined the attackers as “barbarians” and “Nazis”, but without embracing the jihadist line. On the contrary. In his speech (full text here), the Tsar cited what had already been leaked by the Russian services, the FSB, namely that the four armed attackers were stopped “near the Ukrainian border”. For them, second Putin, “a window had been prepared to cross the state border” and reach safety in Kiev. Credible? Hard to say. The border towards the region of Bryansk it is highly militarized and trying to escape towards Ukrainian territory was perhaps not the wisest choice to avoid checks by the Russian police forces. The fact is that the Kremlin aims to involve Zelensky's men, despite Kiev categorically denying any involvement (“it's not our way of acting”). According to the FSB, the four “criminals after committing the terrorist attack” intended “to cross the Russian-Ukrainian border and had important contacts on the Ukrainian side”. Not only. The spokeswoman of the Russian Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharovarecalled that during the war Ukraine “conducted active and systematic terrorist activities against Russian citizens”, such as “planned bombings of residential areas, including kindergartens, schools, medical institutions, attacks on important civilian infrastructure, including transport and energy plants, attacks against public figures and journalists”.

There Born and theEU, while condemning the atrocious massacre, and aware of the risk of escalation, invite everyone not to use the massacre to fuel the fires of war. Of course, the 143 victims, with the tragic abacus destined to grow, cannot go unpunished. And Putin is forced to give a name and a face to all the “criminals” who have “planned mass extermination”, guaranteeing “just and inevitable punishment”. His reputation as an ironclad president is at stake. “Whoever they are, whoever leads them – he assured – we will identify them and punish all those behind them terroristswho prepared this atrocity, this attack on Russia, on our people.”

The interrogations of two suspects

And here we return to the starting point: who are the material authors of the massacre? Who inspired them? Russian news agencies have already released images of some of the 11 arrested (all foreign citizens, says the Russian Interior Ministry), including the four material perpetrators. A couple of videos of the interrogations are circulating on Russian Telegram channels. One of the captured suspects confesses to having been recruited online with the promise of a sum of money in exchange for participation in the massacre: the man is kneeling on the ground, dressed in a short t-shirt, shivering from the cold and claims to have arrived in Russia from Turkey on March 4, having accepted half a million rubles – about 5 thousand euros – and that he was contacted by a preacher's assistant on Telegram.

Watch the video here

The second alleged terrorist, however, suffered decidedly worse treatment according to what was released by the Belarusian site Nexta and by the independent newspaper Meduza (information difficult to verify, but relaunched by the international media). In the video, the suspect is seen held on the ground by some soldiers while a man in camouflage cuts off a piece of his ear with a knife and tries to make him eat it.

Watch the video here

The arrest of the four suspects took place this night before four o'clock, when the Russian police stopped a white Renault that matched the description of the car in which the attackers had gotten into after the massacre. The men on board tried to escape: two were stopped immediately, while the other two apparently ran away into the woods. Some people were found on board the car magazines for Akm assault rifles, like those used in the concert hall, and a gun. With them some passports from Tajikistan. “The suspects were sent to Moscow for questioning by the Investigative Committee. According to the FSB they have contacts on the Ukrainian side and intend to cross the border – he writes Ria Novosti – The terrorist attack was carefully planned. The weapons were hidden in a hideout.”

In claiming responsibility, ISIS praised its “fighters” for having “shot dozens of Christians in the head” and for “massacred several inside the hall and its corridors”. According to their version, the victims would be at least 300 and it is possible that in the end the count will not differ much from that figure. The United States also considers the ISKP (Afghan Islamic State) lead credible. In recent days, in fact, it seems that the American intelligence services had informed their Russian colleagues of a possible jihadist dangeran alarm that was underestimated by the FSB which however defends itself by claiming that it was generic and non-specific information.

It is obviously still early to close the investigation. The photograph shown by ISIS, according to Toni Capuozzo, has some inconsistencies and after all the history of the Islamic State is full of claimed attacks for which, however, it was not actually responsible. However, at least two of the shirts worn by the jihadists in the image and those by the captured suspects appear to match. March 24 was proclaimed a day of national mourning. Candles, flowers and messages of condolence lined the symbolic places of the capital.

The article The money, the ear cut off and made to eat, the escape: what we know about the 4 arrested comes from Nicola Porro.