08/04/2005, 00.00
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Beslan mothers: No to Putin commemorating the school tragedy

The president of the relatives' committee: "Our children were waiting for him at the school, but not us. More than once, the mothers asked to meet the president in another place but they never got a reply."

Beslan (AsiaNews) – Parents of victims of the Beslan school siege in North Ossetia do not want Russian President, Vladimir Putin, or other high-ranking officials to attend ceremonies marking the tragedy of 3 September 2004. This was made clear by the president of the Committee of Beslan Mothers, Susanna Dudiyeva, during an interview with Ekho Moskvy radio station.

"At the ceremony, we do not want to see those who had the professional or military duty to save the children and who instead failed because of their incompetence and irresponsibility," Dudiyeva said. The commemoration ceremonies will take place in Beslan between 1 and 3 September. It was at this time last year that a band of Chechen terrorists held more than 1000 people hostage in Beslan's school no.1. The episode ended in tragedy: 400 people were killed, including more than 150 children.

Relatives' criticism is partly aimed at the Russian government for allowing the special forces to break into the school without making too much effort to mediate beforehand: the invasion by the forces triggered the massacre. The relatives also hold the local administration responsible for the infiltration of terrorists in the school building already months before the tragedy.

"Before seeing Putin here, we want to meet him in another place, we have many things to discuss with him; we have already asked him to receive us more than once. No one is expecting him at the school now," Dudiyeva said.

She said relatives of the victims were also opposed to the presence of authorities with who the kidnappers wanted to talk: Aleksandr Dzasokhov, former President of North Ossetia, Murat Zyazikov, President of Ingushetia and Vladimir Rushailo, former Internal Affairs Minister.

Continued Dudiyeva: "Rushailo should not think his resignation has served to wipe out his responsibility. The kidnappers wanted to get in contact with him, not Roshal." (Leonid, the children's doctor – ed. note)".

Among other unwelcome personalities are: Nikolay Patrushev, director of the Federal Security Services, Rashid Nurgaliyev, Internal Affairs Minister, Valeriy Andreyev, former security chief of North Ossetia.

"They did nothing and the little they did do was unsatisfactory; we can see the outcome," concluded Dudiyeva. "We do not want these people in Beslan. Our children were waiting for them, but not us."

Responsibility for the attack on Beslan was claimed by the brigand Riyadus-Salikhin – also behind many attacks in Russia over the past 10 years. In a signed statement, the separatist Chechen leader, Shamil Basayev held that the militants had called for the withdrawal of Russian troops from Chechyna or at least for Putin's resignation. The statement confirmed that the militants had told mediators who entered the school they would have given the hostages food and water and liberated the youngest children if the Russians had started to meet their requests.

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See also
Russian parliamentary inquiry: Beslan tragedy could have been avoided
Beslan mothers 'believe' in Putin's promises
Chechen rebel claims Beslan siege
Chechen leaders' relatives say stop terrorism, punish massacre perpetrators
The Caucasus, a religious powder keg after Beslan


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