TITLE=CAUCASUS REFUGEES (L-ONLY)
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.
/// 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
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)
08-Oct-1999 17:13 PM EDT (08-Oct-1999 2113 UTC)
Source: Voice of America
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