Russians Bomb Chechen Villagers Gathering Wild Garlic
Local sources have reported that Russian military helicopters bombed a forested area in Chechnya where a group of local villagers were gathering wild garlic (honk-cheremsha).
According to the source, on Sunday March 10, in the afternoon, a group of villagers went to the forest, which is 10-15 km away from the village of Bamut, within the Achkoy-Martan district of the Russian occupied Chechen Republic of Ichkeria. However, after arriving in the forest, Russian military helicopters started to fire shells at them. During the attack, a lot of villagers were injured and some of the victims died. So far, one of the deceased has been identified as Usman Gaysultanov.
However, Russian sources claim that there was a large scale military operation against Chechen resistance fighters and regional residents had been warned not to go into the forests or mountains, but some villagers turned a deaf ear. Despite the claims, local Chechens rejected the Russian statement and they insisted that nobody warned them, moreover, just before the gathering, local representatives of the pro-Russian regime had showed them where they may to collect wild garlic. After the incident, the villagers were visited by representatives of the pro-Russian regime, who urged them to keep quiet. If they do, they will be paid for their dead and injured loved ones.
“Russian military planes and helicopters bomb the forests and mountains from time to time, but before their attacks, they don’t warn anyone. Gathering wild garlic is the main occupation for many local people, because in the area, as in other mountainous regions, there is a high unemployment rate, and people have to deal with this very difficult and low-paying job. Local dealers buy wild garlic from the collectors at half price, and then they sell one kilogram of it for about 60-80 Rubles (3-5 Euro),” said Sultan M. a local resident from the Achkoy-Martan city center.
Another local resident, Ibragim Z., tells a similar story and insists that noone warns them about operations in the forests or mountains, because they are afraid that this information can reach members of the Chechen National Liberation Movement.
Recall that in February 2010, Russian military authorities claimed that they killed a large group of Chechen resistance fighters at the border of the Chechenya and Ingushetia in the outskirts of the village of Arshty and Dattykh in a woodland; however, after a while human rights defenders documented that Russian soldiers killed local wild garlic collectors.
*Text was written by Waynakh Online and edited by Michael Capobianco