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"If reports are true Russian troops slaughtered innocent civilians"
 real 28k

Saturday, 4 December, 1999, 17:56 GMT
'Russians fired on refugees'
refugees Refugees are still arriving at the Ingushetia border

Refugees fleeing the Chechen capital, Grozny, say many people were killed when Russian soliders opened fire on refugee convoys on Friday.

Battle for the Caucasus
A survivor interviewed by the BBC said up to 20 Russian soldiers had fired without warning, killing at least 40 people.


There were bodies everywhere - most of them were women
Taisa Aidamirova
The woman is among a number of wounded being treated in hospital in neighbouring Ingushetia.

The Russian Defence Ministry has denied the claims.

Another survivor, who is now is a critical condition, gave a similar account to her family before her condition deteriorated.


Click here to see a map of the region


Survivor Taisa Aidamirova said the refugees were travelling in a convoy of seven cars and a bus under white flags, when they were stopped at a Russian checkpoint 5km south of the city.

Survivor Taisa Aidamirova survived the alleged massacre
"When the troops opened fire, a bullet struck the petrol tank of the bus and it exploded," she told the BBC.

"There were bodies everywhere. Most of the victims were women.

"We had to leave some of the wounded behind."

The Russians offered them first aid and helped them reach Ingushetia, she said, where their car was the only one allowed to cross the border.

Refugees One woman in a critical condition after being shot
The Russian Defence Ministry has rejected the allegations claiming the attack happened in a area under rebel control.

Elsewhere, there are reports that some of the 223,000 refugees who fled Chechnya for Ingushetia are risking their lives to return home because conditions in the camps are unbearable.

Many are without proper access to food, water and heat, despite sub-zero temperatures.

But thousands are still trapped in the main camp, where their main source of shelter is an abandoned train.

At least 50 orphaned children have been left to fend for themselves in the train, with little hope of conditions improving soon.

Some are too young to understand their parents have been killed.

But a 13-year-old boy said his father has been killed when Russian forces attacked a market in Grozny and his mother had died in the last Chechen war.






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See also:
04 Dec 99 |  Europe
Russia 'seals off' Grozny
01 Dec 99 |  Europe
Chechens 'using human shields'
30 Nov 99 |  Europe
How war came to a Chechen village
28 Nov 99 |  Europe
Escape route for refugees
27 Nov 99 |  Europe
IMF warning to Moscow
25 Nov 99 |  Europe
Analysis: Russia's fighting tactics
19 Nov 99 |  Europe
Analysis: East-West relations must shift

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