Beslan Survivors Say Men in Police Uniforms Helped Hostage-Takers Flee
MosNews | August 17 2005
|Many gunmen who had taken hundreds of schoolchildren and their parents hostage in the South Russian town of Beslan a year ago owe their escape from the school stormed by the security forces to people dressed in police uniforms, a former hostage, Inga Kharebova, told a court where the only hostage-taker detained by the authorities — Nurpasha Kulayev — is currently facing trial.
Formally, Nurpasha Kulayev is deemed the only surviving hostage-taker while all of his accomplices were reportedly killed by the security forces who stormed the school building after a 3-day standoff.
Kharebova told the court that after the school was stormed and the hostages were freed she met her mother who was waiting for her outside the school building, the Novye Izvestia newspaper reported Wednesday.
The two women then asked a man sitting in a passenger car parked nearby to drive them home. They got into the car. The man behind the wheel was wearing a police uniform but with no shoulder straps.
Immediately afterwards, another man got into the car and it started. The new passenger was dressed in black and unshaven. The women gave the driver their address but he ignored them, the witness said.
“It seemed they did not hear me and drove on in an opposite direction. The driver was like a robot. I repeated the address a bit louder; then the man in black turned to us and said: ’I do not know the place.’
”My mother and I shot out of the car barely waiting for it to stop. After the shock I had been through I was not capable of sound reasoning but now I see things more clearly. I am sure, the terrorists had accomplices outside and a great many managed to escape,“ the former hostage said.
Earlier, other witnesses, too, claimed that many terrorists managed to escape unscathed.
Former hostages also complained about the poor performance of fire-brigades during the security raid, the Kommersant Daily newspaper reports.
Thus, Zinaida Tsarakhova said that only one fire-engine arrived at the school. Moreover, the firefighters said they had not received orders to be there altogether. Meanwhile, the majority of hostages killed during the storming died in the blaze, buried under the roof of the building destroyed by fire, Tsarakhova said.