Russia fears rekindling of ethnic strife

As North Ossetians end 40 days of mourning this week for the victims of the school siege in Beslan, Russian authorities are worried that long-simmering ethnic tensions could flare again and set off a new wave of violence in the region. The volatile relationship between North Ossetians and the Ingush is just one of several rifts between ethnic groups in the Caucasus Mountains region that have made southern Russia a seedbed for violence for so many years. Several of the militants who seized School No. 1 in Beslan, located in the largely Christian Russian province of North Ossetia, were believed to be Ingush fighters loyal to Chechen separatist warlord Shamil Basayev, an Islamic extremist who has claimed responsibility for engineering the hostage-taking. Full Story

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