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Peacebuilding and conflict resolution as the result of the Beslan school tragedy.

By November 1, 2004

Russia (MNN)–Ethnic tension in the North Caucasus has forged a conflict resolution project to stave off reprisal violence.

The Beslan school hostage crisis was a key factor in seeing it begin. Over 30 radical Islamist terrorists, including two female suicide bombers and some Chechens, took more than 1,000 hostages at the school in North Ossetia.

Investigators say one of the hostage takers said the goal of the siege was to “create a war in the Caucasus”, inflaming an unsettled region with large-scale conflict.

This was the fifth massive hostage-taking event in Russia since 1995, and it ended in tragedy. More than 350 hostages died, most of them children, leaving very few families in the region untouched.

As the community struggles to heal from the loss of hundreds of children, Russian Ministries’ Sergey Rakhuba says the sorrow is gripping. “Russian Ministries started a counseling center there working with the local Baptist church. We are extending this help, the counseling, where people could come and talk and get some comfort and pour their grief out to those who are available there and who can listen.”

Rakhuba says their colleagues know the hope of Christ is vital now. “We are receiving lots of material help now from all over the world. But, he says, spiritual and emotional help, that’s what our community needs now. Russian Ministries is doing everything that’s possible to provide this help.”

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