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Mass Grave Discovered in Chechnya

Published: April 24, 2001 (Issue # 664)


VLADIKAVKAZ - A Russian reconnaissance unit has found the remains of at least 18 people in a mass grave near a rough mountain road in southern Chechnya, officials said Sunday.

The victims appeared to have been killed in 1996 or 1997, but it was not immediately clear who they were, said a spokesperson for Kremlin aide Sergei Yastrzhembsky.

The border guard reconnaissance unit discovered the remains Thursday while searching for guerrillas near the village of Gizikhoi in the Itum-Kale district, just north of the border with Georgia.

The bodies were exhumed Saturday. All appeared to have been shot in the head and then beheaded, the spokesperson said.

Interfax quoted Chechnya's Kremlin-appointed Press Minister Vasily Vasilenko as saying the victims were believed to be Georgian construction workers who had been kidnapped in 1995 while they were building a road through the rugged region.

The head of the Itum-Kale regional administration, Edilbek Uzuyev, said the bodies appeared to have been removed from other burial places and recently cast together in the common grave, Interfax reported.

Officials were also looking into the possibility that body parts from torture victims were buried in the grave, Interfax reported, citing an unidentified official from Yastrzhembsky's office. The report said remains from up to 30 people might be in the grave.

Meanwhile, one Chechen policeman was killed and 16 servicemen and police were wounded over the last 24 hours in 17 rebel attacks, Interfax quoted the military command as saying Sunday. Casualty figures are impossible to verify.





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Saturday, Dec. 27


Indulge cultural and material needs simultaneously during the free classical music concert at the Galeria shopping mall in the heart of the city. Starting at 7 p.m., shoppers and mallwalkers will be able to hear the sounds of Tchaikovsky and Strauss softly lilt over the constant buzz of people bustling from store to store, trying to get their shopping done before New Year.



Sunday, Dec. 28


Prepare for the holidays at the Russian Winter New Year’s Fair on Moskovskaya Ploshchad, which concludes today after starting on Dec. 22. Games and attractions as well as numerous performances will be on offer for those looking to get into the spirit while numerous vendors will help make sure you have something for everyone on your list.



Monday, Dec. 29


Learn how the Swedes observe Christmas, or Jul, in their land of ice and snow, during aSwedish Christmas celebration at the Lermontov Children’s Library this afternoon at 4 p.m. Activities explaining and demonstrating Sweden’s cultural traditions will be accompanied by traditional dishes and sweets.



Tuesday, Dec. 30


Today is the final day of the Christmas Market at the Europolis shopping center on Polyustrovsky prospekt. Indulge your holiday sweet tooth by tucking into some gingerbread men, or attend one of the master classes that will teach you about how to make beautiful, festive decorations for your tree using only your hands.



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