Chechnya: Argun residents demand end to special operations...

News and Press Release
Originally published
Some 500 residents of the Chechen town of Argun staged a demonstration there on 15 January to demand that the Russian military discontinue special operations in urban areas to identify and detain Chechen fighters, Interfax reported. Argun has been subjected to five such operations in the past six months, and two since early December (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 14 and 17 December 2001, and 9 and 10 January 2002), and speakers at the protest rally claimed that a further such search is scheduled for 23 February. Also on 15 January, residents of the village of Tsotan-Yurt, where drunken Russian troops reportedly killed dozens of civilians during a special operation in early January, staged a similar protest in Grozny. But those protests are unlikely to achieve their objective, given that Chechen Prime Minister Stanislav Ilyasov argued on 13 January that it is essential to continue special operations to identify and detain Chechen fighters. LF
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