beslan school siege

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Former hostages recall the last day of Beslan School Siege that ended with the death of at least 385 people (including 186 children):

 “I used to be afraid of monsters and beasts. And then I met them… On the third day of the siege I wasn’t afraid of anything. I just wanted to be killed and do not suffer anymore” – Angela Sikoeva (the third picture. At the moment of siege she was in the second grade).

“When I heard an explosion I thought “Thank God, we are finally dead”. And then I realized that I’m alive. I’m still alive. I couldn’t wait for this to end” - Aleta Sabanova (The second picture. She pictured with a daughter in a gym where they both were held hostage. At the moment of the attack her daughther was in the first grade).

“I didn’t dream about being saved. I dreamed about being dead. On the third day of the siege everyone wanted this to end. No matter how” -  Agunda Vataeva (At the moment of the attack she was 14 years old).

Excerpts from book “The Beslan Diary” that was composed of interviews with The Beslan school siege survivors and their loved ones:

When it’s dark I go outside and call his name very quietly “Zhorik, where are you hiding? Come out, don’t be afraid”. He doesn’t answer and I go to the school. I call his name over and over again and nothing. I look for him everywhere and any time, even when I’m sleeping. But I can’t find him… - Zifa, mother and survivor, lost her son Zhorik.

After the siege was over, local merchants raised price for flowers. And they never dropped since then. The merchants know that we have no choice, we won’t go to our children graves without flowers. War is mother for some people and is stepmother for others. – Lena, mother, lost her child.

I approached a militant and gave him 5 rubbles. All I had. I said to him “Let my mother go”. He laughed at me and said “Do you know how many 5 rubbles coins I have?” He didn’t let my mother go. It’s my fault. If only I had more money… - 7-year-old Mairbek, survivor, lost both parents.

The most horrible thing was that adults would leave dangerous places, for instance the place under to the basketball hoop to which the bomb was attached, and they would put there children that came to the school without parents. It was so hard to watch. Under the hoop there were only children! The scariest thing was not militants. It was our adults. – 14-year-old Vika, survivor.

I couldn’t identify her. How could I? There was nothing left of her. The autopsist suggested to open her mouth and look at her teeth. I opened her mouth and… all her teeth fell out. So I took them all and I laid them on the pavement. She loved puzzles and how I’m collecting the puzzle from her teeth. A neighbor and her husband passed by, saw me, rushed to me and cried out “Oh my God, Dzera, what they did to us!” And I just continued to collect teeth of my child to see if they will match and identify her sooner. – Dzerassa, mother, lost her daughter.

They removed 30 pieces of iron from her body, but there were plenty of them left. They couldn’t extract them. God, how she creams when its raining! This pieces, you can’t confuse this with anything, you know right away when you hear the way she screams. The doctors afraid to remove remaining pieces. So she will scream when its rains until the rest of her life. – Svetlana, mother of 9-year-old survivor Anya

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The pictures above are screenshots from rare videos made during Beslan school siege. The text in the bottom of the pictures says “Time for fun”. Now seems as a cruel joke, the text actually has a very simple explanation. The videos was made on the camera that one of kids’ parents brought to the school to film celebration of the day of knowledge therefore the parent named the video “Time for fun”. However, later the camera was used by militants to film their activity inside the school. Smiling man you see on the second and third pictures is  Ruslan Khuchbarov , also known as Colonel, who was the head of hostage takers.

The deadliest terrorist attacks in Russia (in chronological order). Part 6

Tula and Rostov aircraft bombing (24 August 2004)

Deaths: 89

On 24 August, 2004 two domestic passenger flights were blown up in the air. All 43 passengers of the first flight and all 46 passengers of the second flight died. Responsibility for the attacks was taken by infamous Chechen militant Shamil Basayev who is also the man behind Budyonnovsk hospital hostage crisis, Moscow theater hostage crisis, Tushino bombing, Beslan school siege and many others terrorist attacks.

Moscow metro bombing (31 August, 2004)

Deaths: 9 (excluding the suicide bomber)

Injuries: 50

On the evening of 31 August, 2004 a female suicide bomber blew herself up outside Moscow’s Rizhskaya metro station, killing 9 people. Chechen militant Shamil Basayev took the responsibility for the attack.

Beslan school siege (1-3 September, 2004)

Deaths: 333

Injuries: 783

On 1 September, 2004 a group of Chechen separatists (32 militants) took hostage 1,128  people in the school of small and peaceful town of Beslan, North Ossetia. The hostage crisis lasted for three days and resulted in death of 333 hostages.

Znamenskoe village bombing (19 July, 2005)

Deaths: 14

Injuries: 36

On 19 July, 2005 a truck bomb exploded in the village of Znamenskoe, Chechnya. 11 police officers and 3 civilians were killed.

Nalchik raid (13-14 October, 2005)

Deaths: 49

Injuries: 244

On 13 and 14 October, 2005 militants committed series of attacks, mostly on police stations, in the city of Nalchik, Kabardino-Balkaria, killing 35 officers and 14 civilians. 97 militants were killed, 70 surrendered.

Moscow market bombing (21 August, 2006)

Deaths: 14

Injuries: 61

On 21 August, 2006 a bomb planted by members of neo-Nazi organization exploded at Moscow’s Cherkizovsky Market, killing 14 people. Four out of five perpetrators were sentenced to life imprisonment.