Everyone, especially the elderly, was happy that everything was over. That night was the first night that my father slept in the house.17
At about midday on February 4, the shelling of Aldi ceased and the first Russian soldiers, who were conscripts, arrived. Witnesses interviewed by Human Rights Watch universally described these soldiers as conscripts-identifiable as such by their young age (about eighteen or nineteen years old)-wearing very dirty uniforms, and with dirty faces. Conscripts told residents not to stay in their cellars any longer and to have their identity documents ready for inspection the following day. They did not conduct house-to-house searches. Raisa Soltakhanova, who lives on Matasha-Mazaeva Street, told Human Rights Watch:
I asked them [conscripts] whether we should show our passports. They said, "no, don't stay in your cellars, contract soldiers will come and throw grenades in." There were twenty, twenty-five soldiers on my street.18
Sultan Aidaev, who was staying on Tsimlianskaia Street, gave the same version of events. He told Human Rights Watch that on February 4, he saw forty or fifty soldiers walking down the street:
They didn't go into houses. After soldiers left, people went out into the street and began to exchange information. I heard someone say that people shouldn't stay in cellars, that we should go back to ourhomes, there won't be any more shelling. Everyone, especially the elderly, was happy that everything was over. That night was the first night that my father slept in the house.19
A third witness also identified the soldiers as conscripts-under twenty years of age and badly dressed.2017 Human Rights Watch interview, Kantyshevo, Ingushetia, March 17, 2000. 18 Human Rights Watch interview, Nazran, Ingushetia, March 17, 2000. 19 Human Rights Watch interview, Kantyshevo, Ingushetia, March 17, 2000. 20 Human Rights Watch interview with Asiat Chaadaeva, Kantyshevo, March 23, 2000.