Despite rumours, UN agency sees no big rise in crossings from Chechnya to Ingushetia

10 July 2001

Ingushetia-based staff from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) have seen no significant increase in the number of people arriving in recent days from Chechnya, the Russian Federation, despite rumours of large numbers of people on the move.

Speaking to reporters today in Geneva, UNHCR spokesman Rupert Coleville said only around 170 people had arrived from 7 to 9 July. "On Thursday last week, some 750 people - most of them men - crossed into Ingushetia," the spokesman said. "Since then, however, movements into Ingushetia have not been out of the ordinary, with smaller numbers of people crossing each day."

According to UNHCR, rumours of upwards of 20,000 people potentially headed to Ingushetia were cited following reported "mop up" operations by Russian federal forces in the area, and the subsequent resignation of local administration heads of Sernovodsk and Assinovskaya.

The UN agency has contingency provisions in place, should there be a larger influx, with tents and other supplies in stock in Ingushetia. There are currently over 150,000 displaced persons from Chechnya in Ingushetia, of which some 70 per cent are staying with host families, and the rest in tent camps or other settlements.


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