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Chechen Villagers Fleeing Again To Daghestan

22 July 2005 -- North Caucasus officials say residents of a Chechen village raided last month by Russian special security forces have again fled to neighboring Daghestan in an apparent attempt to escape abuses.

The office of Moscow-backed Chechen President Alu Alkhanov today said 30 residents of the Borodzninovskaya village crossed into Daghestan's Kizlyar region yesterday.

In Kizlyar, authorities said more villagers were coming today and now numbered 100.

Regional rights activists say the refugees fear for their safety.

Borodzinovskaya is inhabited by ethnic Avars, Daghestan's main ethnic group.

Russian special forces raided the village on 4 June, killing two residents, abducting 11 others, and forcing the rest of the population to seek refuge in Daghestan.

Russian government officials have criticized the mop-up operation, which reportedly involved Chechen soldiers under Russian command.