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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

11/05/1999

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Chechnya's Refugees Leave by the Busload

ON THE CHECHEN-INGUSH BORDER -- Busloads of refugees moved almost without restriction across Chechnya's main border Thursday for the first time in nearly two weeks and officials hoped a backlog would soon be cleared. Emergency Situations Minister Sergei Shoigu promised new roads to ease the refugees' movements and that new, guarded camps would be built inside Chechnya to safeguard their welfare. Russian forces, six weeks into their advance in the separatist region to crush Moslem rebels, advanced through villages west of Grozny. Refugees leaving Chechnya said Russian troops now occupied the village of Samashki. They said people returning to Chechnya were being stopped at a crossroads outside the major town of Achkoi-Martan, where Russian troops had now set up a roadblock. Local media reports spoke of clashes in Gudermes, Chechnya's second city, between residents and Moslem militants, and some suggested Russian troops might soon move and take over the city.

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