Foreigners Among Hostages in Moscow Theatre - 24 October, 2002

As it’s just been reported that the hostages havwe been given drinking water

The hostage-taking drama has continued for over 12  already in the Russian capital. Russia’s news agency RIA Novosti has just informed that drinking water was brought to the theatre. A family member of one of the hostages said that her son called her and said that all hostages are in in the theatre hall; the people are given only water, no food.

It is also reported that the terrorists fixed explosive devices on the bodies of several hostages; however, this information isn’t yet officially confirmed. According to some sources, there are some foreigners among the hostages kept in the theatre. Russian radio Echo Moskvy quotes one of the released hostages, Maria Shkolnikova, as saying that foreign citizens from Netherlands, Bulgaria, Canada, Australia, Latvia, Moldavia, Yugoslavia, Belarus, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, the USA, Germany, Great Britain, Switzerland, and Ukraine (the total number is about 60) are among the hostages.  In Shkolnikova’s words, the terrorists demand that representatives from the Red Cross  and Medecins Sans Frontieres come to the site for negotiations. There is one important condition: there should be no Russians among the negotiators. The extremists also insist that officials representing the foreign countries must be present at the negotiations as well, Shkolnikova says.

Chairman of the Duma committee for security problems Alexander Gurov told journalists that the demands set up by the terrorists are basically unfeasible: “It is impossible to withdraw all Russian troops from Chechnya within one week only.”  Alexander Gurov says that the terrorist act in the Moscow theatre is unprecedented: “This hostage-taking event is as unusual as an act is committed by suicide terrorist. It has never been done before.” He thinks that negotiations are the only way.

According to different sources, the number of people kept hostages in the Moscow theatre is from 400 to 1,000.

Sergey Yugov

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Author`s name Michael Simpson