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Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Turmoil and Uncertainty

Unless you live in a cave... in which case you probably wouldn't be on a computer at all... let alone to visit my little corner of the net... you have heard about the attacks in Russia this past few weeks.

BBC Comprehensive Article

That article breaks down all the events that occurred in the Belsan school siege pretty well. Also gives insight into the aftermath unfolding this week.

This is an e-mail I received early in the morning (around 2am my time) which would have come around 1pm Moscow Time. It is from Stacie Shopp, who is a missionary in Moscow. She coordinated our trip this past summer. Stacie has been a missionary in Russia for 10 years.

Dear Praying Warriors,

Thank you so much for lifting up the families and the children and the
situation in Beslan. Many of you have written and spoken of your prayers,
and we make sure that those we know in Beslan know of your support.

I am sure that most of you have heard that the siege ended on Friday night.
The reports have been rather confusing here as well, but what I have
gathered from Russian news is that a bomb on the inside of the sports hall,
where all the hostages were being held, went off 'accidentally'. With that
initial bomb the Russian special forces decided to go into the building
before something else took place, thinking that perhaps the terrorists had
decided to start killing everyone. Due to the kind of 'tribal' attitude
there in Beslan almost all the local men had guns and were out around the
school building also ready to attack. This both hindered and helped I guess
in the siege. Many children were able to get out after the initial bombing,
but as they fled the terrorists shot them from behind. Thus many children
were suffering from bullet wounds to the spine.

All told there are now around 550 dead or missing. It seems there were
around 1,000 in the school building at the time of the take-over. Many of
the children who were admitted to hospitals are in shock and can not speak
at all. Many have been flown to Moscow for more serious operations, but I
understand that the doctors everywhere are working around the clock to help
the children both here and in the south.

Both of the pastors there in Beslan that are connected to our work here have
lost at least one child, and several others are missing. Each family though
has one child that has returned to them, but they are in extreme shock and
have not spoken at all since the incident. The funerals for the children is
being held off until they can find out something about the missing children.
Since many children caught in the roof collapse are unrecognizable it is
possible that the pastor's children are among them. However, many of the
children in the hospitals are unable yet to speak and thus perhaps their
children are among those in trauma.

It is my understanding that there were 10 Arab men among the terrorists, and
one from Africa. The nationality of the rest are assumed to be Russian.
Many here are saying that these men were all from terrorist training camps
located in the hills of the republic of Chechnya, which has been receiving
aid from other 'sympathetic' countries. In addition, it seems that most of
the weapons the terrorists used were already hidden within the school
building which had undergone reconstruction this summer. It is believed
that this was planned for at least 6 months, and perhaps was a training op
for terrorists. What will be done to stop such further events is unknown
right now, but President Putin has been talking about stricter border
control between the republics.

Several of our Moscow ministry leaders plan to go down to Beslan tonight to
support and encourage the church and the believers there. We hope to put
together a donation from our church to help cover medical costs, funeral
expenses and whatever else they might need. A few people have asked me
about helping, so if the Lord puts that on your heart please contact me via
e-mail at stas@asr.ru.

Above all we hold to the fact that even this was not unknown by God, and He
is holding these grieving families in His hands. We will pass on your
prayers to them, and give them His promises for such times as these.

Thank you dear friends for not being indifferent to what is going on in the
world around us, and for reaching out in prayer to those of 'our' family.

Shalom in Him - Stacie

Before the school siege... a suicide bomber in Moscow blew herself up outside of a Metro (subway) station, about 10 people died, and 30 were wounded as the bomb was filled with shrapnel.

A few days before that 2 planes were downed almost simultaneously, but were more then 500km apart. They both took off from DME in Moscow... the airport I landed at. About 90 people died, there were no survivors from the planes.

That event was branded Russia's 9/11 by one Russian newspaper.

Beslan school seizure was planned by Maskhadov, Basayev - detained militant

MOSCOW. Sept 6 (Interfax) - A detained participant in the hostage taking in the North Ossetian town of Beslan said that the task to seize a school had been set by separatist leaders Aslan Maskhadov and Shamil Basayev.

"A man nicknamed Colonel gathered us in the forest, and they said: you must seize a school in Beslan. They said that this task had been set by Maskhadov and Basayev," the detained man said in his testimony broadcast by the Rossiya television station's Vesti news program on Monday evening.

"When we asked Colonel why we had to do this and what the objective was, he, Colonel, said: 'because is it necessary to unleash a war across the entire Caucasus,'" he said.

This article was taken from one of the Russian news wires. Interfax // In English

September 6 and 7 have been declared national days of mourning in Russia.

Now is the time to pray more then ever for the Russian people. Pray also for our brother and sisters there, and they serve in this time of turmoil and uncertainty.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

As insane as this may sound I want to be over there now more than ever...


9/9/04 00:36


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