MOSCOW -- Russian Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliyev called on the officials of the republics in Russia's North Caucasus region to increase security measures to protect local schools as the new academic year nears, RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.
According to Nurgaliyev, terrorist groups in the region have increased their activities on the eve of the new academic year, which starts on September 1. He said it is therefore necessary to do everything possible to provide security for the schools.
Five years ago, on September 1, 2004, a group of Chechen rebels took over 1,100 people hostage at a school in the town of Beslan in the North Caucasus Republic of North Ossetia-Alania, demanding the immediate withdrawal of Russian federal troops from Chechnya.
A shoot-out between the hostage takers and Russian security forces left at least 334 hostages dead, including 186 children.