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Militants Release Some Hostages In North Ossetia

2 September 2004 -- Reports say that militants have released some women and children from a school in southern Russia where hostage takers continue to hold over 300 other people.

ITAR-TASS reported that 26 women and children were released after mediation efforts by former Ingushetian President Ruslan Aushev. Earlier reports said three women with babies were released.

For a second day, a group of armed men and women are holding the hostages, including many children, at a school in the town of Beslan in Russia's southern republic of North Ossetia.

There have been reports of gunfire today as well as two explosions near the school. The cause of the blasts remains unclear.

It remains unclear who the hostage takers are, or why they stormed the school.

Russian President Vladimir Putin vowed today to do all he can to save the more than 300 hostages still being held in the school in North Ossetia.

Provincial government aide Lev Dzugaev said the initial hostage release came after mediation by Ruslan Aushev, former president of the neighboring republic of Ingushetia .

(compiled from agency reports)

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

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