Source Pravda.Ru

Russian prosecutor says there were no weapon cash in Beslan school

A top Russian prosecutor said Thursday that heavily armed militants did not stash weaponry in Beslan's School No. 1 before the September 2004 hostage-taking, Russian news agencies reported.

Deputy Prosecutor General Vladimir Kolesnikov also said that no criminal charges would be brought against military personnel who used flame-throwers during the last day of the three-day seizure.

Many relatives of 331 victims and others have claimed that the 32 militants stored guns and ammunition in the floor below the school library ahead of time, suggesting school officials may have been complicit in the deadly raid.

The ITAR-Tass and Interfax news agencies reported that Kolesnikov said that evidence showed that militants had brought with them all their weapons on the first day of the seizure, Sept. 1, rather than hiding the guns in the school beforehand.

Kolesnikov also rejected accusations by some former hostages and relatives, who have suggested that the deadly blaze that followed explosions on the last day and sent the burning gymnasium roof crashing down was sparked by the chaotic military response and the botched rescue effort.

"The actions of the military personnel were justified, and there are no grounds to open a criminal investigation," Kolesnikov said in televised comments from the capital of North Ossetia, the region where Beslan is located.

Kolesnikov also said the school's principal had not been in communication with the militants, the agencies reported, refuting allegations by some former hostages that she had received special treatment from the terrorists.

After repeated delays, a parliamentary commission investigating the terrorist attack one of Russia's worst ever is slated to release its final report sometime in December, reports the AP.

P.T.

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