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Military Says Federal Mortar Fire On Chechen Village Was 'Mistake'

10 November 2005 -- A military official in Chechnya described as an accident a mortar-fire attack by federal forces on the village of Starye Atagi.

The pre-dawn attack yesterday in the southern outskirts of Starye Atagi left six villagers seriously injured, including a 2-year-old girl. Eight houses were also heavily damaged.

Chechen military commandant Grigory Fomenko said the incident was the result of a "mistake in the artillery calculations," and that federal forces had in fact intended to strike a militant base "in a completely different place."

Military prosecutors have opened an investigation into the incident. Chechnya's pro-Moscow President Alu Alkhanov has also ordered law-enforcement officials to conduct a thorough probe in order to determine how to prevent such attacks in the future.


Copyright (c) 2005. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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