New footage shows Beslan crisis talks

Never-before-seen footage of the Beslan school massacre broadcast in the US has shown hostage-takers negotiating with local authorities before the crisis ended in tragedy.

    Some mothers were permitted to leave the school with babies

    Some mothers are also shown leaving the school with babies as a result of negotiations.

    According to CBS programme 48 Hours, the footage was shot by the hostage-takers and found in the rubble of the school in the days following the massacre in the south Russian province of North Ossetia in September 2004.

    In the video, the former president of Ingushetia, Ruslan Aushev, is seen negotiating with the leader of the hostage takers, Ruslan "The Colonel" Kuchbarov.

    'Don't hurt'


    Lydia Tsalieva, principal of the primary school where the events took place, is also seen telling Kuchbarov: "For Christ's sake, don't hurt a single child of mine."


    At least 344 people were killed
    in the standoff at the school

    Subsequent images show 11 mothers leaving the school with 14 babies, apparently as a result of the encounter between Aushev and Kuchbarov.

    Because the hostage-takers would not allow the mothers to take all their children, only the smallest, one of them decided to stay inside with an older child and gave her baby to Aushev, who is seen with the boy in his arms.

    On the programme, Aushev says that the hostage-takers presented a series of demands in return for the release of the hostages, including the withdrawal of all Russian forces from Chechnya.

    Fierce gunfight


    Although Aushev thought the conditions unrealistic, he hoped Moscow would agree in order to end the crisis, and could reverse its decision later.

    "I have four children and I imagined if my children were among the hostages. Everything should have been done to save these children"

    Ruslan Aushev,
    former Ingushetia president and Beslan hostage negotiator

    "I have four children and I imagined if my children were among the hostages. Everything should have been done to save these children," he said.

    At least 344 people, half of them children, were killed when the hostage-taking spun out of control and ended in a fierce gunfight on 3 September last year.

    The deaths occurred as a result of a chaotic battle between Russian and local security forces and about 30 hostage-takers that erupted after more than 1200 people had been held in the school for three days.

    Chechen leader Shamil Basayev later claimed responsibility for the incident.



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