More than 5,000 children in Chechnya need prostheses, Kavkazky Uzel reported on June 7. According to the newspaper Groznensky rabochy, more than a half million explosive devices have been scattered around the republic and that more than 10,000 people have been killed or maimed by such devices since the start of the first military campaign. The majority of parents of children crippled by mines or other explosive devices are unable to buy even prosthetic devices produced domestically, which cost up to 15,000 rubles (over $500).
“The blowing up of shepherds, young mowers, schoolboys who trade in their pens for woodcutters’ axes on weekends or holidays – [these are] the sad statistics of our times,” Groznensky rabochy wrote. “In the opinion of specialists, the current relatively peaceful phase is dulling vigilance, inasmuch as it is often forgotten that a mine war lasts much longer than a regular one with its bombardment, shelling and exchanges of fire.” In recent days, two youths who were tending cattle on the outskirts of the village of Noibera in the Gudermes district were killed when they stepped on mines. On May 30, two boys, aged 12 and 14, were blown up when they stepped on mines on the outskirts of the village of Novy Sharoi (Achkoi-Martan district). According to UNICEF, 717 children were victims of mine explosions in Chechnya between 1994 and 2004, and 114 of those were killed.