Race-hate attack fuels fear of Beslan backlash

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The Independent Online

Fears that the Beslan school massacre will lead to attacks against people from the Caucasus mounted yesterday after skinheads beat four people "of Caucasian appearance" on the underground railway system in Moscow.

Fears that the Beslan school massacre will lead to attacks against people from the Caucasus mounted yesterday after skinheads beat four people "of Caucasian appearance" on the underground railway system in Moscow.

Many of the Beslan hostage-takers were either Chechen or Ingush and the heavy loss of life that accompanied the end to the siege has seen centuries-old tensions between Caucasians and ethnic Russians worsen.

Witnesses described how a group of between 20 and 50 skinheads set upon four Caucasians in a metro carriage late on Saturday night. The youths allegedly shouted, "This is what you get for terror attacks", as they beat and kicked their victims and slashed them with knives. The victims were taken to hospital and one was said to be in a critical condition. Police are investigating the incident and have made several arrests. They sayit appears to have been an ethnic hate crime.

Fears of fresh terror attacks are growing in Moscow. A man driving a car packed with explosives was arrested on Friday and allegedly said he was planning a bomb attack. He is reported to have died in custody.

Police have been accused of picking on people "of Caucasian appearance". Colonel Magomed Tolboyev, a former cosmonaut, claims he was beaten up and racially abused by two policemen after the Beslan massacre.

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