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Rights Group: Russian Military Committing Abuses in Region Neighboring Chechnya

Russian forces have committed numerous abuses while searching for suspected Chechen rebels in neighboring Ingushetia, threatening to extend the war beyond Chechnya’s borders, a human rights group said Wednesday. The New York-based Human Rights Watch said it has documented numerous cases of arbitrary detention, ill treatment and looting during so-called mopping-up raids in Ingushetia, the mostly Muslim Russia republic bordering Chechnya’s west and sharing a language and culture. “In Ingushetia, Russian forces are showing the same patterns of brutal behavior that we’ve seen in Chechnya,” Elizabeth Andersen, executive director of the group’s Europe and Central Asia division, said in a statement. “The Russian government must rein them in or risk spreading insecurity to Ingushetia.” Anna Neistat, head of the organization’s Moscow office, said Russian operations in Ingushetia had targeted both Chechen refugees and ethnic Ingush. There are an estimated 86,000 Chechen refugees in the region. In one incident, Russian forces were suspected of killing an Ingush man and wounding his mother. In another, a Russian soldier allegedly shot a 16-year-old Ingush boy in the leg, she said. Russian military prosecutors refused to investigate either incident despite requests from local officials in Ingushetia, Neistat said. Full Story

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