Beslan school siege: Ten years on 'nothing has changed'

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Beslan school siege: Ten years on 'nothing has changed'

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Residents of Beslan are marking the tenth anniversary of a school siege which resulted in the deaths of over 330 people, including 186 children.

Ten years on from the tragedy, locals in the North Ossetia town say they are still living in fear.

Many, such as Susana Dudiyeva the head of the Beslan Mothers’ Committee, are angry at the authorities for failing to properly investigate the attack.

“Nothing has changed”, she said. “Corruption is flourishing as before; bureaucratic solidarity is flourishing as before. Nobody will ever punish one of their group, and all of this causes us lots of pain because we are all as unprotected as before.”

On September 1, 2004, gunmen seized over a thousand children and parents attending a ceremony marking the start of a new school year in Beslan.

The siege ended in a chaotic rescue attempt three days later. Witnesses say they saw Russian forces fire at the school, but Russian officials have continually denied this.

In 2008, 447 of the hostages or their family members filed complaints with the European Court of Human Rights. Hearings are due to begin on October 14, 2014.

Beslan lies in the turbulent North Caucasus region of southern Russia. It is near to Chechnya, where Russian forces have fought two wars against separatist rebels. The violence has often spilled over into neighbouring regions.