Source Pravda.Ru

The Latest Information About the Hostages in Moscow Music Theatre. More Updates - 24 October, 2002 - News

PRAVDA.Ru reports the latest news about the unexampled act of terrorism in the center of Moscow

The latest information as of 11:45 a.m.

Police officers took several journalists with cameras into the theatre. These journalists represented ORT and REN-TV television channels. One of the police officers said that the journalists were selected by the gunmen, since they remained at the site the whole night through. At the same time, it is not clear where these journalists are going to be taken to and what they want to do there. It is not ruled out that the gunmen have decided to release a statement.

The latest information as of 12:45 p.m.

Military hardware can be seen in the streets of Moscow. This is the first time people have seen military vehicles in Moscow in years. Armored vehicles appeared in the streets of the Russian capital right after operation “Groza” (“Thunder”) was announced. A “hostage,” as police see it, is a human being, whose hostage-takers talk to the authorities about his or her release (not to any relatives). Operation Gorza started when the military personnel arrived at the site of the terrorist act. Traffic was blocked on the neighboring streets. Specially trained negotiators arrive to establish contact with the terrorists. The police examine all cars arriving to and leaving from Moscow . People with dark features are being stopped in the streets of Moscow. Everybody is looking forward to the end, and no one is willing to negotiate yet. Moscow residents treat all these measures with understanding. They realize that these measures are vital for the time being. It has just been reported that Moscow state buildings have been provided with more security. Special military units have been deployed near important buildings of the Russian capital. The production of petroleum products has been temporarily suspended at the Moscow refinery in the town of Kopotnya.

The law-enforcement bodies ordered people away from the music theatre at a distance of some 500 meters. Military vehicles have been removed from all approaches to the theatre. Neighboring areas are being carefully patrolled. Moscow hospitals are on constant alert.

The Federal Security Bureau (FSB) was charged with the operation to release the hostages. The special services need to analyze the situation. There is always the chance that another act of terrorism will happen. It might take place in another city. It has to be mentioned here that this is the first time that the Moscow police and FSB have to conduct an operation of such a scale. The Chechans have been taken captives in the center of Moscow. Their number set a record.

The latest information as of 1:08 p.m.

Chechen refugees in the city of Baku (the capital of the Azerbaijan republic) organized an demonstration in support of the terrorists in Moscow. The refugees demand that Russian troops be withdrawn from the territory of the Chechnya republic. Nothing has been reported yet about the reaction of the government of Azerbaijan.

The latest information as of 1:14 p.m.

The gunmen agreed to let a group of REN TV journalists and Russian singer Joseph Kobzon into the music theatre. They were allowed to bring in some medicines, but the gunmen will examine all the people. The journalists will have to have their IDs with them and no weapons at all. REN TV reported that the journalists will be allowed to go to the second story of the building.

The latest information as of 1:16 p.m.

Russian deputy Boris Nemtsov is now inside the building. He is ready to start negotiations with the terrorists.

The latest information as of 1:30 p.m.

The Russian State Duma believes that the first priority of the situation with the hostages is the preservation of lives. This is mentioned in a special decree, which was approved by the Duma in connection with the state of emergency in Moscow. RIA Novosti reported that 421 deputies voted for the decree, while no one was against it. One deputy abstained from voting. The deputies stressed that all the efforts of the authorities, society, and the mass media have to be aimed at keeping every hostage alive and healthy. The State Duma announced its decisive support for consolidated efforts to overcome the critical situation with the hostages. It was also stressed in the document that federal negotiators and law-enforcement bodies are to take professional and responsible actions. The deputies of the Russian parliament addressed political parties and public organizations, urging everyone to realize the seriousness of this challenge to the Russian society. The deputies urged everyone to stand up against it, despite all political differences. “The unity of all forces is vital as never before under the current extreme conditions,” – reads the document.

The State Duma also addressed those who seized the hostages. Russian deputies urged them to show their discretion and release the innocent people, women and children, first and foremost. “Nothing can be achieved with illegal actions against Russian civilians and foreigners,” stressed the document. The deputies say that the dramatic events in Moscow must not either raise panic in Russian society or provoke ethnic or religious hostility. This could lead to serious negative consequences in the field of international relations.

The latest information as of 1:34 p.m.

The terrorists want Boris Nemtsov (the leader of the Union of Right Forces political movement) to be present at the negotiations. Earlier, the terrorists asked for the presence of other politicians: Irina Khakamada and Grigory Yavlinksy. Yavlinsky is currently in the city of Tomsk, so the terrorists preferred to talk to Boris Nemtsov. The RTR Russian Television network reported that the gunmen have started showing aggression. They promised that they will shoot ten people every hour if no one meets their requirements. None of the hostages have been hurt yet, according to the Interfax news agency.

The latest information as of 1:47 p.m.

The terrorists are ready to exchange ten hostages for one deputy of the Russian State Duma, RIA Novosti reported. Spokesman for the Russian FSB Sergey Ignatchenko stated that negotiations are currently taking place with the terrorists. There is a group of negotiators inside the music theatre at the moment. This group includes two Swiss men from the Red Cross, Russian singer Joseph Kobzon, and British journalist Mark Franketti.

The latest information as of 1:49 p.m.

Joseph Kobzon took a woman and a small child out of the building of the music theatre. Kobzon took part in negotiations with the terrorists.

The latest information as of 1:57 p.m.

+7 (095) 244 45 81 - this is the number to dial to obtain the information about foreign citizens who have been taken captive in the music theater.

The latest information as of 2:15 p.m.

The gunmen said that there are 50 suicide terrorists in the building. This information was released by Sergey Ignatchenko, a spokesman for the Federal Security bureau (FSB), who referred to negotiations with the terrorists. As Ignatchenko advised, the head of the terrorist group introduced himself as Abu Said. He said that there are 25 male and 25 female suicide terrorists in the theatre. Abu Said stated that the building had been mined. Deputy Rybakov announced that the deputies are ready to exchange the hostages for deputies. However, the terrorists do not agree to exchange women and children for the deputies. They say that they would only agree to exchange male hostages. RIA Novosti reported that Russian State Duma Deputy Joseph Kobzon ( a well-known singer in Russia) managed to release one woman and two children.

The latest information as of 2:17 p.m.

The act of terrorism in Moscow was planned and prepared in a foreign terrorist center. This was reported by Russian President Vladimir Putin during a Kremlin session with military ministers. In the words of the Russian president, the plan was developed in a foreign terrorist center. The executors of the act were also there. “The first information that was released from the terrorists arrived from abroad. This is another fact that proves that this act of terrorism was planned in a foreign terrorist center. No one has any doubts that these are the criminals who have been terrorizing Chechnya for many years. They have been spreading death and destruction in Chechnya and beyond the territory of the republic. Now they want to spread it even further. The major goal for our law-enforcement bodies and special services is to release the hostages and provide as much safety for them as possible,” said Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The latest information as of 2:28 p.m.

The negotiators earnestly ask media outlets not to report unreliable information, since it might break the process of negotiations. This was particularly requested by Irina Khakamada, the vice speaker of the Russian Duma. As Khakamada advised, the negotiation process is gathering pace. She pointed out that the terrorists were not making any new requirements at the moment. The negotiators are doing their best to take as many people as possible out of the theater. Khakamada said that Red Cross representatives took one hostage out who was having heart problems.

The latest information as of 2:40 p.m.

A crowd of young Russians brutally beat a Caucasian man in the afternoon, near the Petrovsko-Razumovskaya metro station. According to eyewitnesses, the man was hospitalized with serious injuries.

The latest information as of 2:42 p.m.

The special headquarters that was set up in connection with the tragic events has been receiving valuable information and acting in a determined way. This was reported by FSB Director Nikolay Patrushev. After the session with the Russian president, Patrushev advised that he had had several conversations with his foreign colleagues, who gave their support and offered information.

The latest information as of 2:44 p.m.

Denmark, the country that chairs the European Union, released a statement in Brussels. On behalf of the European Union, Denmark denounced the act of terrorism in the music theatre of Moscow. According to RIA Novosti, Denmark expressed its total support of the Russian government in its efforts to improve the situation with the hostages. On behalf of the European Union, Denmark asked for the immediate and safe release of all hostages.

The latest information as of 3:00 p.m.

The question pertaining to the institution of the state of emergency in Moscow might be raised at the session of the Federation Council. This was said by Sergey Mironov, the speaker of the upper house of the Russian parliament. “The Federation Council’s terms of reference cover the institution of the state of emergency. This is being done on the suggestion from the president of the country. I do not exclude that we will have to gather in order to discuss this issue,” said Mironov. Sergey Mironov advised that on Thursday morning, he talked to the speaker of the parliament of Georgia, Nino Burjanadze. “The Georgian parliament is working on a special address concerning the current events. They expressed their unity with our actions,” said the speaker. Sergey Mironov said that he had certain questions to ask the chiefs of the law-enforcement bodies who allowed a gang of armed terrorists to come into Moscow without any problems and seize hundreds of hostages in the theatre. Mironov added that before looking for the guilty people, one should take care of the hostages’ lives. “After the hostages are released, we will have to ask very serious questions. I think that the law-enforcement bodies were relaxed to a certain extent, which is why such a thing happened,” said Sergey Mironov. Mironov said that he was against negotiations with the leaders of Chechen separatists. He is confident that the policy of the Russian Federation is not going to change regarding Chechnya. “I think that we can guarantee those terrorists their lives. We can give them an opportunity to leave the territory of Russia if none of the hostages are hurt.

The latest information as of 3:30 p.m.

The international organization Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) volunteered to mediate at the negotiations between the terrorists and the Russian authorities. This was said to ITAR-TASS news agency by the president of the organization, Jean-Hervй Bradol. Bradol also advised that Medecins Sans Frontieres granted a mandate to its representative in Moscow to start the mediating mission.

NTV photograph

PRAVDA.Ru

Translated by Dmitry Sudakov

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