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Russia: Some 50,000 People Flee Chechnya

Grozny, Russia; 29 September 1999 (RFE/RL) - The office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees says continuing Russian air raids in Chechnya have caused some 50,000 people to flee their homes over the past three days. UN spokesman Fred Eckhard said yesterday that most of the internal refugees are residents of the Chechen capital Grozny and its suburbs. He said almost all of the displaced persons are heading for neighboring Ingushetia. Ingush President Ruslan Aushev said yesterday there were 61,000 internal refugees in Ingushetia and many more could be expected to arrive in the coming days. The displaced persons are fleeing the air strikes, which continued for a sixth straight day yesterday. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said in Moscow the strikes would continue until Chechen-based Islamic fighters were wiped out and their bases destroyed.