A Russian aircraft killed a Chechen woman and five of her children in the southern highland village of Rigakhoy, according to a report distributed on April 13 by the Russian human rights center Memorial. The woman, Marit Tsintsaeva, had tried to shelter the children in the family home as the air attack began, but a bomb fell directly on their house.
A spokesman for the Russian air force denied the report, insisting that no air raids had taken place in that area at the time in question. But on April 14 researchers from Memorial visited Rigakhoy and found a bomb fragment with the number 350F5-90. Memorial concluded that “as a result of a direct hit on the house of Imar-Ali Damaev, almost all his family perished: his wife Mandat Kudusovna Tsintsaeva (born in 1975) and their children Dzhanas (born in 1999), Zharadat (born in 2000), Umar-Khazhi (born in 2002), Zara (born in 2003), and Zura (born in 2003). The explosion was so powerful that the family’s sheep and horses, which were located outside the house, were also killed. By a lucky accident the head of the family, Imar-Ali, survived; he was visiting a nearby cemetery but was a witness to the air raid. The couple’s eldest son, 7-year-old Umar, also survived, since at the time of the attack he was in school in a neighboring village.”
According to Memorial, investigators from the Russian military procuracy and the procuracy for the Vedeno district visited the village on April 13. They announced that the explosion had been caused by a mine, and that therefore there was no reason to launch a criminal investigation.
Anna Politkovskaya pointed out in an April 19 article for Novaya gazeta that the air raid took place in the daytime, under conditions of good visibility. She reported that representatives of Memorial have personally transmitted an official petition to the Chechen procuracy from the widower Imar-Ali Damaev for a full investigation.