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