Monday, Aug 18, 2008
Elderly South Ossetians are recovering from the trauma of a violent raid on their retirement home by Georgian troops. Residents at the Tskhinvali home say they were threatened with death – and spared only after telling soldiers the location of a nearby school.
The home is the only one of its kind in the breakaway republic, with ten residents and only one nurse looking after them. They could not be evacuated due to their poor health.
“I was hiding the residents when the shooting started,” says nurse Anna Dzoukaeva. “I figured this is the safest place because there are three walls between this room and the road from where the shooting was coming.”
When Georgians broke into the retirement home they started shouting threats and intimidation. One resident said: “Two Georgians were threatening to kill me if I didn’t tell them where school number twelve was. I swore to them I didn’t know. I don’t know why they needed to know where it was. Later we learned they did find it eventually and destroyed it.”
The residents are now being looked after by Russian soldiers. They receive humanitarian aid but are short on medical supplies and staff. There are no doctors in the home, but their director, Cherchen Tebloev, keeps accepting more refugees, irrespective of where they are from.
“When the shooting stopped and I managed to return back to work someone brought two Georgians,” he said. “We treated them like our residents, we fed them and took care of them, but they had to be taken away by the Russian emergency service as we couldn’t provide them with the medicines they needed.”
This article was posted: Monday, August 18, 2008 at 8:25 am