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    THOUSANDS OF FORCED MIGRANTS RETURN TO CHECHNYA

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    MOSCOW, May 13 (RIA Novosti) - Almost 10,000 forced migrants have returned to Chechnya from Ingushetia since the beginning of 2004, said a UN department for coordination of humanitarian issues.

    The number of displaced persons registered in Ingushetia (a Russian autonomy neighboring on Chechnya) has reduced by almost 9,959 since January 1, 2004; out of them, 9,844 people have returned to Chechnya, says the department's statement.

    The document says that the rates of returning migrants to Chechnya in April significantly reduced after their stable increase during the first quarter of 2004.

    "Such a reduction can be explained by the fact that the number of notifications about the right to receive state compensations for destroyed housing and lost property handed out by bodies of authority has also reduced," says the document.

    The department said only one tent camp for migrants, "Satsita", remained in Ingushetia.

    By UN information, the process of return to Chechnya "was voluntary on the whole." All migrants were offered alternative housing in Ingushetia, in particular, some 30% of the Sputnik camp residents closed on April 1 stayed on the territory of this North Caucasian republic that had been a single autonomous republic with Chechnya in Soviet times.

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