Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Chechens Fleeing To Poland


Chechens are fleeing to Poland

Jacek Brzuszkiewicz, Lublin 13-09-2004, last update 13-09-2004 20:44

The next group of 90 Chechens asked on Monday for refugee status after crossing the Polish-Belorussian border. After the attack of terrorists on the school in Beslan they are afraid of lynching and repressions for the side of authorities

All of them after crossing the border in Terespol have applied for refugee tatus. This is the second goup of Chechen escaping to Poland from the Russian Federation. On Saturday and Sunday the border in Terespol crossed 70 persons of Chechen nationality.

"All the Chechens who have applied for refugees status have been sent to the [refugee] center in Debak near Warsaw," says lieutenat-colonel Andrzej Wojcik, spokesman for the border unit - at the same time refuting Sunday's information from the Russian agency Interfax, which was alarming that the Poles are sending back from the border "hundreds of Chechens".

Among Chechens who in the last days applied for the refugee status in Poland are many families, often with small children. They are afraid of mob law from the side of Russians. "After Beslan we can't live there. It's dangerous to go on the street. They threaten that they do the same with Chechen children as the terrorists," as telling in Debak a resident of Grozny's suburb to an official of the Bureau of Repatriation and Foreigners. Other Chechens, more than their neighbours are afraid of repressions from the side of Russian authorities. "A Russian soldier on the street of Grozny was showing me that he was going to slash my throat" another said. They tell that they had been travelling to Poland for five days, because S.and N. Ossetia's borders were closed, they're travelled through Baku and Mineralniye Vody, by crowded trains and cheap private buses. For their trip, very often, their whole familes and neighbours were collecting money. The Chechens who came to Poland this last weekend tell about thousands of their countrymen who wait on any possibility to departure from Chechnya and other Caucasian republics.

Last week, every day, eight, nine Chechens had applied for refugee status. Since then, this number has been growing. - I'm afraid, that we can expect the real flood of Chechen refugees - says Jan Wegrzyn, the director general of Bureau of Repatriation and Foreigners.

At the disposal of 12 refugee centers there's 2300 individual places. After the last wave of escapes, only a few beds are left empty. Since the beginning of this year an application for the refugee status have filled 4500 persons in Poland, among them 3600 Chechens.

(tr. Marius at C-SL)

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