09/01/2005, 00.00
RUSSIA
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Beslan, the days of tragedy (Overview)

Wednesday, September 1, 2004: a group of Chechen terrorists storms School Nº 1 in Beslan, Republic of North Ossetia, where celebrations for the start of the new school year are underway. More than 1,200 people are present. The captors refuse aid, denying food and water to the hostages.

Thursday, September 2: the captors blow up two grenades ten minutes apart to keep the police away; there is hope for a happy ending when 26 hostages are freed.

Friday, September 3: the terrorists agree to let four doctors into the building. Suddenly, two explosions are heard. A few dozens of hostages are able to escape. The terrorists start shooting; Russian Special Forces move in. It seems that things got out of hand when a bomb exploded accidentally. The terrorist commando (that included members from Ingushetia) is wiped out after hours of shooting. It was made up of 32 people, 31 of whom were killed according to official sources. Eyewitness accounts speak instead of perhaps 70 members. Nurkapi Kulaiev is the only survivor. His trial began on May 17. Victims' relatives have called the whole process a farce.

Susanna Dudiyeva, who heads the Mothers of Beslan Committee, has said that she was going to ask the Supreme Court to reduce Kulayev's sentence in exchange for the truth.

Victims' relatives are convinced that the Russian government is the real culprit for the tragic denouement of the school siege.

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