No statute of limitations: Russia remembers the victims of the tragedy in Beslan
The academic year for children in Beslan begins on September 4: the first three days of the month are reserved for commemorative events. Seventeen years ago, the residents of Beslan came to the festive school line, which turned into a three-day nightmare. A detachment of armed militants entered the territory, taking over a thousand hostages.
The chronicle of the tragedy in Beslan is known in many details. Many eyewitness accounts have become testimonies in dozens of volumes of the criminal case. 32 thugs with an arsenal weapons and explosive devices entered the city and seized almost everyone who was at the walls of school №1. Field commander Ruslan Khuchbarov, one of Shamil Basayev's closest confidants, gave orders to the militants. The terrorists brought Kalashnikov assault rifles, grenades and light machine guns, RPG-7 and RPG-18 "Fly" anti-tank grenade launchers to the Beslan school; there were still hundreds of kilograms of explosives - the main supply was divided into several large charges, the rest was carried in suicide belts.
The military, special forces and rescue services were pulled to the capture area, and an anti-terrorist headquarters was deployed. It was known that the hostages were herded into the gymnasium and the premises adjacent to it. The first explosion took place inside the school a few hours after the capture. A suicide bomber from a group of terrorists was killed. In response, the bandits shot 20 male hostages, threatening to kill 50 prisoners for each lost militant. We did not enter into the proposed negotiations with the authorities.
The first group of hostages was released the next day, after the arrival of the former head of the republic, Ruslan Aushev. The invaders released 26 people - women with small children. Demands were voiced to Aushev: to release the terrorists who carried out the attack in Nazran, as well as to withdraw Russian troops from Chechnya. Until the very end, the ringleader Khuchbarov refused the proposed options for releasing the hostages and forbade the transfer of water, food and medicine.
On the third day, among the people captured by the militants, fainting began. Those who lose consciousness, the militants promised to shoot on the spot. The tension grew. The command was preparing a plan for the assault, persuading the militants to skip the afternoon of the rescue team so that they would take the bodies of the dead hostages. However, after a series of sudden explosions and indiscriminate gunfire in school corridors, the authorities had to give the order to begin the rescue operation.
The militants who remained inside the school put up a fierce resistance, hiding behind people as a human shield. Those who could no longer walk were ruthlessly finished off. Some of the bandits fortified themselves in pre-equipped firing positions, making it difficult to evacuate the survivors. Mothers rescued children by helping them jump out of broken windows. Ambulances and doctors were sorely lacking for everyone in the first minutes. The soldiers and local militias (most often they were the fathers and grandfathers of the children who were among the hostages), who were hurrying to help, were fired by grenades. The phase of the elimination of the bandits lasted for several hours.
The scale of the tragedy shocked the whole world. The terrorist attack claimed the lives of 334 people, including 186 children under the age of 17. More than eight hundred survivors were sent to hospital for treatment. Among those who participated in the release of the prisoners, there were also losses: three soldiers of the FSB "Alpha" special detachment, seven soldiers of the "Vympel" unit, six rescuers and one employee of the Ministry of Internal Affairs were killed.
1315 people subsequently received the status of victims in the criminal case of the Beslan terrorist attack. The only survivor of the attackers, Nurpasha Kulaev, was sentenced to capital punishment; according to the existing legal norms, the execution was replaced by a life sentence. Crime without a statute of limitations.
The law also designates an annually celebrated memorable date: September 2004rd - Day of Solidarity in the Fight Against Terrorism. At the site of the tragedy in Beslan, a memorial complex was opened with a monument to the Tree of Sorrow and the City of Angels in the cemetery, where the memory of most of the victims was immortalized. The skeleton of the school is still a reminder of those terrible days in September XNUMX.
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