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Aljazeera: "Official": Chechen wars killed 300,000

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  • Norbert Strade
    Official: Chechen wars killed 300,000 Sunday 26 June 2005 About 300,000 people have been killed during two wars in Chechnya over the past decade, a senior
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 26, 2005
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      Official: Chechen wars killed 300,000

      Sunday 26 June 2005

      About 300,000 people have been killed during two wars in Chechnya over
      the past decade, a senior official in the province's Moscow-backed
      government said.

      Dukvakha Abdurakhmanov, a deputy prime minister in the
      Kremlin-controlled Chechen civilian administration, also said on Sunday
      that more than 200,000 people have gone missing.

      Abdurakhmanov's claim could not be independently verified.

      The Russian government has not revealed any casualties among civilians
      in Chechnya during the two wars in the region since 1994.

      Casualty estimates vary widely, but many say about 80,000 civilians -
      40% of them children - died in the first Chechen war. Countless more
      have been killed since the conflict exploded again in 1999.

      Abdurakhmanov made the statement during a visit to the neighbouring
      province of Dagestan, where more than 1100 ethnic Avar residents of a
      Chechen village fled after one villager was killed and 11 others went
      missing during a recent raid they blamed on Chechen security forces.

      Chechen wars

      Abdurakhmanov and other Chechen officials were trying to persuade the
      refugees to return home, arguing that Chechens had suffered much greater
      losses throughout the conflict.

      The high casualty figures Abdurakhmanov cited could be part of a pitch
      to push the reluctant residents of the village to come back rather than
      a product of a thorough calculation.

      "You lost 11 people, while every resident of Chechnya has scores of
      relatives who have been killed or gone missing," Abdurakhmanov told the
      village's residents.

      Russian forces pulled out in 1996 after a disastrous 20-month battle
      with separatist rebels, leaving Chechnya de facto independent.

      The Russian army swept in again in 1999 after Chechnya-based fighters
      made incursions into Dagestan and after 300 people died in apartment
      bombings blamed on the separatists.
      Agencies
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