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Russian military officers accused of aiding Beslan hostage-takers

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  • Greg Cannon
    http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/story.jsp?story=605367 Russian officers helped in plot to seize Beslan school By Andrew Osborn in Beslan 28 January
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 28, 2005
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      http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/story.jsp?story=605367

      Russian officers 'helped in plot to seize Beslan
      school'

      By Andrew Osborn in Beslan
      28 January 2005

      Beslan's increasingly restless residents were told
      yesterday that high-ranking Russian military officers
      who "were still at their posts" were suspected of
      helping Chechen militants seize the town's school last
      September.

      Two men holding a rank "higher than a major and a
      colonel" were said to be involved in the plot and had
      apparently deliberately not fulfilled the functions
      for which they are paid, presumably in exchange for
      some kind of bribe.

      The revelation, disclosed by the parliamentary
      commission investigating the atrocity, appeared to
      shatter the illusion that the tragedy was the isolated
      work of a small band of Chechen separatists.

      It is likely to enrage the victims' mothers who are
      becoming increasingly vociferous in their demands that
      the president of North Ossetia, the republic where
      Beslan is located, should resign. Last week they
      blocked Beslan's main highway for three days to press
      their demands and are threatening to take further
      "illegal" action if Alexander Dzasokhov, whom they
      accuse of failing to protect their children, does not
      step down.

      Alexander Torshin, chairman of the parliamentary
      commission looking into the bloodbath, said yesterday
      that "a terrorist act of such a scale would have been
      impossible to commit without accomplices."

      In the mayhem that followed the seizure of the school
      on 1 September, 330 people died, 186 of whom were
      children. Many residents have found it impossible to
      fathom how a group of militants allegedly numbering no
      more than 32 was able to hold more than 1,100 people
      hostage for three days.

      It is also unclear how they managed to smuggle so many
      weapons into the school, passing through so many
      official checkpoints. It is known that several
      policemen readily accepted bribes to turn a blind eye.

      Two accomplices have been detained, a further three
      are on the run and yesterday Mr Torshin claimed that
      he had passed information to the law enforcement
      authorities concerning a further two accomplices.

      While the accomplices identified so far have been
      local civilians, Mr Torshin said the duo being sought
      both held a military rank "higher than a major and a
      colonel".

      Another member of the parliamentary commission,
      Vladimir Kulakov, said the accom- plices being sought
      worked at "the federal level" suggesting that some of
      the officials/military officers being sought may be
      based in Moscow itself.

      People in Beslan reacted wearily to the news. "I am
      not surprised by this. This is Russia after all and
      people are often tempted to do anything for money,"
      said a local man who declined to be named.

      Only one of the actual participants in the siege was
      captured alive. Nur-Pasha Kulaev, a 24-year-old
      Chechen, admitted he had taken part. He is expected to
      be formally sentenced in the near future while the
      parliamentary investigation is expected to release its
      final report in the next two months.
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