November 9th 2001 · Prague Watchdog / Ruslan Isayev · PRINTER FRIENDLY FORMAT · E-MAIL THIS · ALSO AVAILABLE IN: RUSSIAN 

Serzhen-Yurt: Who cares about the ordinary people?

Ruslan Isayev, North Caucasus – The village of Serzhen-Yurt village is situated at the very entrance to the Vedeno gorge in southern Chechnya. Before the 2nd Chechen war, on the other side of the Khulkhulau river there used to be a training camp of the Chechen army, better known as Khattab’s camp.

The village suffered very much during the first war. Over 70 per cent of houses were partly or fully destroyed. In September 1999, the first air attacks of the Russian aircraft were directed exactly at this place. The residents of Serzhen-Yurt have since been living in conditions of permanent missile and artillery shelling.

In the western part of the village, a big Russian detachment is deployed on the Jalka farm (sovkhoz). They regularly bomb forests at the entrance to the Vedeno gorge and also the district center Shali. Also the villages of Avtury and Serzhen-Yurt are subject to regular shelling. The last attack on Serzhen-Yurt took place in the night between the 3rd and 4th of November. The residents have been intuitively hiding in cellars and temporary shelters.

This is also what saved the Muzayev family. The house of Abdullah Muzayev was totally destroyed during the night shelling. He and his five relatives were buried with soil. One of the relatives, 52-year-old Zula Muzayeva, suffered from shock and stupor only and she was the first one to be dug out by the neighbors. The others were transported to the district hospital in Shali with broken arms and legs. Neither Abdullah Muzayev, electrician and former teacher of physical education, nor his wife, his children or his sister Zula, teacher of history at the local school, have ever participated in any kind of military operations. Nor have they ever taken part in the guerilla war.

The day after, the residents of Serzhen-Yurt brought Ahmad Saydulaev and Sultan Suleymanov to the same hospital of Shali. Russian soldiers had shelled the two old men close to the village of Mesker-Yurt as they were coming on tractor from their work. Ironically enough, both are employed at the Khankala military base, full of barracks and flats of Russian soldiers. Saydulaev and Suleymanov survived thanks to a quick transport to the Shali hospital, their condition is however critical.

In Achkhoy Martan a young boy fired in the direction of Russian echelon from a slingshot. Russian soldiers answered by firing from automatics. The boy managed to escape but a 13-year-old girl Aysat Chalandurova was mortally wounded and died on the journey to the hospital.

Similar events are not mentioned in the reports by the Russian army commanders. Except for the victim‘s relatives, nobody is interested in the lives and fates of these people. Promises of the Russian army commanders to investigate all killings of civilians and punish the culprits are, as a rule, empty words.


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