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Russian Federation: Red Cross workers killed in Chechnya

30-10-1999 News Release 99/62

Geneva (ICRC) - A convoy of vehicles, among them vehicles from the Chechen branch of the Russian Red Cross, came under fire yesterday afternoon near the village of  Chami Yurt, 20 km west of Grozny, on the main road between Nazran and Grozny. Military operations were in progress in the area.

According to local Red Cross sources, the five vehicles, all of which were clearly marked with the red cross emblem (the truck displayed a red cross on its roof) were returning to Grozny from the Ingush border, which it had been unable to cross.

According to the same sources, a rocket fired from an aircraft hit the truck, killing two Red Cross workers and seriously wounding a third. A number of nearby vehicles also came under fire, resulting in the death of at least 25 persons and injuring 70 more.

Deeply shocked by this attack against the emblem and staff of the Red Cross and extremely concerned about the civilian casualties, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) strongly appeals to all those involved in the fighting to respect and protect civilians, not to use them for military purposes and to respect the emblem and staff of the Red Cross. The ICRC also urges all those involved in the conflict to allow civilians to safely leave combat zones.