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Last Updated: Friday, 4 March 2005, 17:17 GMT
Beslan siege 'planners' captured
Russian troops
Hundreds of children were hurt in a gun battle as the siege ended
Russian prosecutors say they have arrested four people in connection with the school siege in Beslan last year, which left more than 330 people dead.

Deputy Prosecutor General Nikolai Shepel said the four were suspected of helping plan the siege in North Ossetia and other attacks in Ingushetia.

He said five other suspects were killed as they resisted arrest.

A BBC regional analyst says the Russian authorities are keen to show they are in control in the region.

Mr Shepel did not say when or where the latest arrests took place.

"These people helped prepare the terrorist act in Beslan," he said.

The three-day siege of the Beslan school ended on 3 September last year in chaotic, bloody scenes.

About 330 of the 1,000 pupils and adults taken hostage died in explosions and gun battles between the attackers and Russian security forces outside the building.

Officials say one hostage-taker was arrested and the other 31 died.

Relatives' anger

Chechen warlord Shamil Basayev has claimed responsibility for the attack and has warned he is planning further attacks. The Russian MP heading the investigation into the Beslan school siege blamed the lack of organisation during the crisis on senior Kremlin officials.

The commission has also said high-ranking military officials had aided the gunmen.

A number of officers have been arrested and charged with negligence, but relatives of people killed in the school siege have led protests, angry that those they held accountable had not resigned.

They have demanded resignations in the North Ossetian government, particularly that of President Alexander Dzasokhov.

The demonstrators said corrupt and inefficient local officials had allowed the gunmen to pass through police checkpoints.


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