Place of interview: Severny refugee camp (train carriage) in Ingushetia
Interview date: prior to the liquidation of camp “North” in December 1999
An interview was given by an elementary school teacher who worked at the village school. According to her, on November 20, 1999, she and her husband had travelled to a store and had left their children behind at home in a heated outbuilding. On their way back from the store they noticed two aircrafts flying at low altitude. One of these released four bombs which landed very close to the couple and struck some passers-by, while the other aircraft released a further six bombs in the direction of their home.
As a result of the bombing, three houses – including one belonging to the couple – were destroyed. However, the children miraculously survived. Seven people had been injured in the neighboring house, including a seven-year-old girl. According to the interviewee, the girl had lost an eye as a result of the attack, and was taken to Khasavyurt. The other injured were taken to a hospital in Starye Atagi, which had been transferred from the city of Grozny.
Comment from the Natalia Estemirova Documentation Center: this episode refers to the initial period of hostilities in the territory of the Chechen Republic. By this time, Russian troops had already blocked the city of Grozny from three sides and had approached it from the fourth southerly direction. The village of Gikalo occupied a strategic position as the road leading from it stretched to the south and further into the mountains along the Argun Gorge. At the described time, Russian troops had moved towards Gikalo from both an easterly direction from the Khankala side through the village of Chechen-Aul, and also from a westerly direction from Alkhan-Yurt and Goity.