TITLE=RUSSIA/CHECHEN BORDER (L)
INTRO: Russian military officials say they have
successfully carried out air strikes and shelling
against Islamic militants operating in the breakaway
republic of Chechnya. But refugees fleeing to the
neighboring republic of Ingushetia accuse Russian
forces of randomly shelling towns and villages. V-O-A
correspondent Eve Conant reports from the Chechen-
TEXT: /// OPEN WITH TRAFFIC NOISE, HONKING, FADE. ///
Families packed into cars impatiently try to cross the
border out of Chechyna and away from what they
describe as random bombing attacks against civilians.
The pounding of Russian artillery can be heard in the
distance as they drive into Ingushetia. As night
falls, the sound of the bombing grows more frequent
and more intense.
For those who don't want to cross, there is a small
refugee camp just inside the Chechen border. Like
other camps in the region, this one has little to
offer its frightened inhabitants. They count
themselves lucky if they get a loaf of bread, or a
tent to protect from nighttime rains.
/// ACT SOUND OF WOMEN SHOUTING, FADE. ///
Almost all of the refugees gathered here had survived
Russia's 1994 to 1996 war with Chechyna, which ended
in tens of thousands of civilian casualties.
Havi Mukhtarova and the others crowded around her say
they are tired of the fighting, that they can no
longer live with war.
/// MUKHTAROVA ACT IN INGUSH, FADE. ///
"We already lost everything in the last war. We left
Chechnya with only the clothes we were wearing," she
cries. "Now it's happening all over again."
A nearby hospital is packed with casualties of the
latest fighting. A 16-year-old boy in a state of shock
tries to explain how Russian aircraft circled over his
head three times before the bombs fell.
/// OPT: BOY'S PAINFUL MUMBLES, FADE. ///
The next thing he remembers is waking up in the
hospital with his right leg blown off.
Hospital doctors say they need medical aid, but are
getting no assistance. They say their new casualties
are suffering from shrapnel wounds and burns caused by
Russian bombing raids.
An older man lying under a bloodstained sheet has
burns over 30 per cent of his body. Flies buzz around
his wounds as he explains that he was simply taking
out the garbage when a rocket hit his home.
Like many others, he does not understand how Russian
officials can say they are only targeting terrorists.
He looks around at a room full of civilian casualties
and asks, "Where are the terrorists here?"
09-Oct-1999 13:42 PM EDT (09-Oct-1999 1742 UTC)
Source: Voice of America
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