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Security Council Demands Release Of Russian Hostages

2 September 2004 -- The United Nations Security Council has called for the immediate release of some 350 children and adults being held by gunmen at a school in North Ossetia, a southern Russian republic bordering Chechnya.

The hostages spent the night in the school in the town of Beslan following its seizure by the gunmen yesterday.

Russian officials said negotiations with the hostage takers have continued, but officials have not given details about the identity or demands of the gunmen.

A North Ossetian official today put the number of hostages at 354. Some 130 of them were earlier reported to be children.

The gunmen have reportedly threatened to kill children and blow up the school if they are attacked by Russian forces that have surrounded the building.

The gunmen have refused to allow food and water to be delivered to the school and there is no word on the conditions inside.


For the latest news on the hostage situation in North Ossetia, see RFE/RL's webpage on Ossetia.