September 03, 2005

Noms de Guerre


It's the one-year anniversary of the Beslan school massacre, and still few news articles acknowledge the Islamist motivations of the terrorists. Charles Johnson noted the omissions in this AFP wire story: Minute of silence marks anniversary of Beslan hostage bloodbath.

Stifling anguished cries, survivors of the Beslan tragedy and relatives of more than 300 dead hostages observed a minute of silence at the ruins of School Number One on the anniversary of the disaster.

Gathering under rain clouds, mourners stood in and around the ruins of the school to observe a minute of silence at 1:05 pm (0905 GMT), the precise moment when Russian rescue forces a year ago launched a chaotic attempt to rescue more than 1,100 hostages.

Only the sound of sobbing interrupted the silence.

Then white balloons were floated into the dark sky, one for each of the 319 hostages who perished, including 186 children, and 12 servicemen. All but one of the 32 gunmen, who had been demanding an end to the war in Chechnya, were also killed in the battle. ...

The Beslan tragedy began last year on September 1 when gunmen seized more than 1,100 students, parents and teachers while they celebrated the start to the academic year. It ended on September 3 in a battle so fierce that much of the school was destroyed by fire and blast.

But this Mail & Guardian article fills in some important details: Beslan mastermind thumbs his nose at Russia.

He is Russia's most wanted man, with tens of thousands of soldiers on his trail, but a year after masterminding the Beslan massacre, Chechen warlord Shamil Basayev remains at large, openly mocking the Kremlin. ...

The bearded guerrilla leader has become legendary for his ability to escape the net, despite multiple wounds, including the loss of his right lower leg on a landmine five years ago, and a $10-million bounty on his head.

Military analysts describe Basayev (40) as a brilliant commander, fearless and ruthless -- even psychopathic -- in his decade-old war against the Russian state.

That has earned him cult status among the radicalised wing of Chechen rebels and in the worldwide Islamic jihad movement, from which he is believed to receive some of his funding.

For more information, see our post from last year.

Posted by Forkum at September 3, 2005 05:00 PM