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DATE=10/8/1999 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=CAUCASUS REFUGEES (L-ONLY) NUMBER=2-254826 BYLINE=EVE CONANT DATELINE=NAZRAN, INGUSHETIA INTERNET=YES CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: Russian forces are carrying out more air strikes against what they describe as terrorist bases inside the breakaway republic of Chechnya. But as correspondent Eve Conant reports, refugees fleeing from Chechnya to the neighboring Russian republic of Ingushetia tell another story -- that the air strikes are targeting civilians, not Chechen fighters. More details from Nazran, in Ingushetia. TEXT: /// SFX: CHOPPING WOOD IN REFUGEE CAMP /// A Chechen boy at the makeshift refugee camp at Kantsheva chops wood that will be used by his family to boil potatoes for dinner. There are mostly women, children and the elderly at this dismal camp in the regional capital of Ingushetia -- a small, impoverished republic that borders Chechnya. Several hundred Chechen refugees have fled here over the past two weeks, joining the tens of thousands seeking shelter from Russian artillery and shelling. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has said military forces were only targeting terrorist bases inside the breakaway republic. But the small crowd gathered here break into shouts and tears at the suggestion that only strategic targets are being hit. /// ACT 1: WOMAN SHOUTING IN RUSSIAN /// "It's not true," one woman shouts. "You can go and look for yourself. They haven't touched a single terrorist." Malika Gilyaeva, who warms herself by a fire, has taken her two children and fled here. She says she left the men in her family behind to protect their home, and that her village is no longer safe. /// GILYAEVA ACT IN RUSSIAN; ESTABLISH, FADE UNDER /// "They [Russian forces] say they're bombing Chechen fighters, but they're really just bombing civilians," she says, adding: "Women and children were dying in front of our eyes." Russian military officials have suggested a plan to partition Chechnya -- occupying and supplying the northern part of the territory with food and electricity, while leaving southern regions to flounder. Officials say this might encourage Chechens to appreciate Russian leadership. But one of the few men in the camp, Sulim Zygbaraev, says there is no way Chechens will ever trust Russia again. /// ZYGBARAEV ACT IN RUSSIAN, IN AND UNDER /// "This is not a war against bandits," he shouts. "It's a war against the Chechen people. They want Chechnya to be free of all Chechens." And there is little help for them once they escape Chechnya for Ingushetia or other neighboring republics. The cash-strapped Ingush government can barely cope with the influx of refugees, and has warned of a humanitarian catastrophe if it does not receive help soon. Authorities say they lack a basic supply of blankets, food, and medicine and that many people are hungry and are forced to sleep outside. A presidential spokesman says more than 125-thousand refugees have sought shelter here and more are expected by the day. (Signed) NEB/EC/ENE/JP/WTW 08-Oct-1999 17:13 PM EDT (08-Oct-1999 2113 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .





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