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Kyrgyz Beslan Survivor Pursues Russian Police Career

Malik Kalchakeyev five years after he survived the Beslan tragedy
BISHKEK -- A young Kyrgyz national who was among the hostages in the Beslan school tragedy five years ago began studies at a police academy in the Russian city of Rostov-on-Don this summer, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reported.

Malik Kalchakeyev's parents were economic emigrants from Kyrgyzstan who had moved to North Ossetia in 2003.

Malik was a seventh-grade student beginning classes in North Ossetia on September 1, 2004 when Chechen militants stormed Beslan's School No. 1 and took him and more than 1,000 others hostage.

He survived the three-day ordeal in part by drinking toilet water when the captors twice let him go to the toilets. He helped other hostages by dunking his shirt in the toilet and wringing it out for them in the sweltering heat of the gymnasium, where they were being held without food or water.

Malik's grandfather, Murat Kalchakeyev, told RFE/RL that he was shocked to see his grandson in television coverage of the crisis.

More than 330 of the hostages died in the rescue attempt, over half of them children.