MOSCOW - According to witnesses, at least some of the Beslan school attackers were under the influence of drugs, Alexander Torshin, head of the parliamentary investigation commission, said on Echo of Moscow radio.
Many witnesses told the commission that the terrorists had injected drugs, Mr. Torshin said.
The commission is going to investigate the nature of the drugs. “According to witnesses – and we have to check their testimony, - the terrorists seemed to have no pain threshold. Having received one, two or three bullets, they continued to fight, showing no signs of fatigue,” Mr. Torshin said. “We examined the room where the terrorists fed themselves and slept. There was nothing in the room except date-wrappers. The surviving hostages also say that their captors ate and drank little, and they seemed to take some drugs to sharpen their eyesight,” he added. “All this needs to be checked. We have sent corresponding requests but there have been no responses yet. It seems that they used some unusual drugs,” Mr. Torshin noted.
An examination of the school attackers’ bodies confirmed that all of them were drug users. According to Nikolay Shepel, Deputy Prosecutor General of Russia in the North Caucasus, 22 terrorists regularly injected themselves with hard drugs – heroin and morphine.
According to Mikhail Gutseriev, the former Deputy Chairman of the State Duma, the hostage takers were almost unable to hold talks. When local religious leaders entered the school in order to talk to the hostage takers and persuade them to start negotiations with the authorities, the terrorists pushed them out. According to Mr. Torshin, they called Mikhail Gutseriev as the chief negotiator and told him that if “those bearded guys come again, we will kill 10 people”.
Mr. Torshin said the parliamentary commission would also investigate reports that the chief hostage-taker, called Colonel, blew up two female terrorists “who seemed to show signs of hesitation at the sight of infants among the hostages”.
Earlier, Mr. Torshin said the parliamentary commission had got hold of two video cassettes that would help the investigation of the tragedy. He said one of them had been handed over by Stanislav Kisayev, Chairman of North Ossetia’s parliamentary investigation commission.
The members of the commission plan to visit Beslan again later this month. The parliamentary commission to investigate the school siege was set up on September 20. It includes ten members of the Federation Council and the State Duma.