Vadim Pukhaev: the first dead and wounded fell down on the floor of the truck, and I realized that we were being fired

Sun, 19/05/2013 - 20:07

Genocide May 20, 1992
Vadim Pukhaev, born in 1971

May 20, 1992 I, with my brother and my friend, were standing on a railway crossing in Tskhinval, waiting for a bus. We wanted to reach the village of Java along the bypass Zar road. At about 9:00 am a truck drove up to the bus stop, covered with tent: the driver said he would take us to Java. About 25-30 people, including us, sat in the truck body and near the village of Zar the car fan belt broke off. We were forced to stop. A lot of cars were passing in the direction of Java. After some time, the driver started the engine and we moved on. In the truck were also sitting women, children and the old people.

When we drove off 4-5 kilometers from the village of Zar, suddenly began firing from automatic weapons. We did not realize what was happening. The first dead and wounded fell down on the floor of the truck, and I realized that we were being shelled. Two more cars were following our truck. We panicked, but no one managed to jump out of the truck to escape. Both the driver and the passenger, sitting next to him, were killed at once. The shots were fired from both the submachine guns and machine guns. I heard next to our car exploded three grenades. Intense firing lasted for 5 minutes. No one in the truck could see the shooters, because the truck was covered, and from the ambush it was comfortable to shoot. After the shooting stopped, I got out of the truck to look around, but when I heard the loud screams in the Georgian language, I hid again. They said that it was time to leave, that the truck was followed by other cars. When things calmed down, I climbed back into the truck to see my brother, but there was silence there. I thought with horror that all were killed, but when I lifted my brother, he groaned, he was covered with blood. The entire body of the truck was also covered with blood. I pulled out my brother and only then noticed that he had been wounded in shoulder. After that Tamik Chibirov jumped out of the truck, injured, covered with blood. He was severely shaken up. He was shouting that we were being killed and fled into the forest, leaving his wife and children in the truck. After some time, I helped the wounded woman; I think, her name was Marina Plieva, and the girl of about twenty years old. Close to ours was a white car. Except for one passenger - Suren Tskhovrebov - all the rest had been killed.
Seeing that my brother is getting worse, I picked him up and we headed into the wood, thinking that we were going in the direction of the village of Zar. I noticed in the wood near the scene of the tragedy the tracks of an armored personal carrier. Prevented by trees, it stopped there, turned around and went in the direction of Kekhvi. We somehow reached the village of Kvernet, where I was given a car and came to the riot police. Together with the riot police I went to the place where I had left my brother, but we did not find him there.
We decided that he was found by other people traveling on the road, but, having arrived in Tskhinval, I could not find him there. Later, I learned that he had lost consciousness. When he recovered himself, being thirsty, he crawled to the river, where he again lost consciousness. That night he spent unconscious near the river. Having regained consciousness in the morning, he saw two Georgians standing near him. One of them he would not say anybody they had found him and then would sell him. Another Georgian objected, saying that they did not need my brother, and they should not run into trouble. During this conversation a few Georgians drove up to them and took my brother to the hospital in the village of Achabeti. For two days the Georgians did not give him back and on the third day my brother was exchanged for a Georgian man.

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