North Ossetian leader ready to testify on Beslan events

VLADIKAVKAZ (Russia's North Caucasus), September 7 (RIA Novosti, Albina Olisayeva) - North Ossetian leader Taimuraz Mamsurov said he was ready to give testimony on the Beslan school siege of September 1-3 last year, Mamsurov's senior spokeswoman Ksenia Gokoyeva said Wednesday.

Deputy Prosecutor General Vladimir Kolesnikov told a news conference in the North Ossetian capital of Vladikavkaz that the Russian prosecutors' investigation group had summoned Mamsurov for questioning over the Beslan attack.

"Like any other North Ossetian, Mamsurov is ready to assist the investigation to the most of his ability. Like any other Beslan resident, he wants the truth to be established," Gokoyeva said.

She said Mamsurov had arrived in the republic from Moscow, where he was on a business trip, at 2p.m. Moscow time (10a.m. GMT) and immediately headed for the prosecutor's office.

"He did receive a letter from the prosecutors on September 7, summoning him for questioning at any convenient time. He was just on his way to the prosecutor's office when some media reported he was not in the republic and was ignoring the subpoena. But 2p.m. is not the end of the day, is it?" Gokoyeva said.

The Beslan hostage tragedy officially claimed the lives of 331 people, including 186 children. Terrorists held parents, students and staff hostage for three days in a local school before troops stormed the building. Authorities reported that 918 people were rescued.

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