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CHECHNYA LINKS LIBRARY

April 9th 2002 · Prague Watchdog / Ruslan Isayev · PRINTER FRIENDLY FORMAT · E-MAIL THIS · ALSO AVAILABLE IN: RUSSIAN 

Mass grave found in mountain cave

Ruslan Isayev, North Caucasus - On April 5, a mass grave containing human remains was found in a mountain cave in the Achkhoy-Martan district, southwest of the capital Grozny. Local people who discovered the grave said the skulls and bones make it easy to define the age of the victims. Some bones reportedly prove there are children aged between 10 - 12 among the bodies.

Lieutenant-General Vladimir Moltenskoi, who commands of the combined federal forces in Chechnya, promptly announced the bodies might be either captured Russian soldiers or victims kept as hostage by Chechen fighters. He linked the grave to fights in the first Chechen war (1994-1996).

However, eyewitnesses say stewed-pork tins distributed among Russian soldiers and bottles of vodka found on the spot prove roistering Russian soldiers stayed there. In addition, since 2000, as Russian generals claim themselves, federal army has been controling the whole of Chechnya, including its mountainous areas. Local people say as early as in December 2000 several Russian military columns with Chechens detained during "mopping-up" operations, including children aged between 10-14, were stationed in the area of the caves.

Therefore there are reasonable grounds to assume the remains found in the cave belong to the detained Chechens who got unaccounted-for at the beginning of the "anti-terrorist" operation.

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