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Last Updated: Sunday, 5 September, 2004, 20:49 GMT 21:49 UK
Russian TV shows 'hostage-taker'
By Steven Eke
BBC correspondent in Moscow

Alleged hostage-taker on Russian Channel One television
"I didn't go there to die," the man says
Russian TV has shown pictures of a man who is believed to have been one of the hostage-takers at the school in the southern town of Beslan.

Channel One state television showed the man being dragged into a room by two masked commandoes.

His hands cuffed and locked behind his back, he makes a plea to the camera.

It is the very first evidence provided by the Russian authorities to back up their claim to have captured three of the hostage-takers alive.

In the footage, shown on Sunday evening, the man, whose accent strongly suggests he is from the region and not a foreigner, makes a plea to the camera.

"I really didn't go there to die and I still don't want to die. I swear, I swear to Allah the almighty, that I want to live," he says.


The presenter says the alleged hostage-taker was trying to escape when the special forces caught him.

He had apparently shaved off his beard and was trying to flee with the liberated hostages.

The report was highly triumphalist and ended with images of the corpses of the dead hostage-takers crawling with flies.

The reports may go some way to reassuring ordinary Russians, many of whom are confused by the contradictory messages about casualty figures and exactly what happened in Beslan.

The incident has been a massive embarrassment for the Kremlin, but the message from state television tonight is that everything is now under control.

The BBC's Bridget Kendall
"This heavily guarded man was shown on Russian state television"

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