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Police Charged With Negligence Over Beslan

27 October 2004 -- Three Russian policemen were charged today with criminal negligence leading to the deaths of more than 350 hostages seized at a school in the North Ossetian town of Beslan.

The charges were the first brought against police, who are widely blamed in the region for failing to prevent the tragedy. About half the victims were children.

Local news agencies reported the charged men were heads of police in North Ossetia and Ingushetia, a neighboring region where some of the kidnappers came from.

The militants, supporters of Chechen independence, seized the school with some 1,200 hostages on 1 September and held it for more than two days before special forces stormed the building in a raid that turned into a bloodbath.