Tuesday 24 April 2018

Deadly sieges over the past 30 years

HERE is a look at some of the deadliest sieges in the last 30 years, after an Algerian hostage crisis ended on Saturday with heavy loss of life.

American, Canadian, British, French, Japanese, Norwegian, Filipino and Romanian workers are dead or missing after Islamist militants seized a desert gas plant near the Libyan border, about 1,300 km (800 miles) southeast of Algiers. Algerian forces stormed the plant on Saturday and veteran Islamist fighter Mokhtar Belmokhtar claimed responsibility for the attack on behalf of al Qaeda.

* INDIA - June 1984 - The Indian Army stormed Sikhism's holiest shrine, the Golden Temple in the city of Amritsar. The action was aimed at driving out armed militants who had occupied the shrine as part of their fight for an independent state. Several hundred people were killed, although casualty estimates vary. Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, who ordered the operation, was assassinated by two Sikh bodyguards later that year.

* RUSSIA - September 2004 - Pro-Chechen gunmen seized School No.1 in Beslan, Chechnya and took 1,300 hostages on the first day of the school year. 331 people were killed, including 186 children, in a chaotic storming of the school by Russian forces. The rebels were demanding independence and an end to war in Chechnya.

* RUSSIA - October 2002 - At least 129 hostages and 41 Chechen guerrillas were killed when Russian troops stormed a Moscow theatre where rebels had taken more than 700 people captive. Most of the hostages were killed by gas used to knock out the Chechens.

* RUSSIA - June 1995 - Chechen rebels seized hundreds of hostages in a hospital in the Russian town of Budennovsk. More than 100 people died during the rebel assault and a Russian commando raid. The rebels were allowed to leave for Chechnya after five days in exchange for freeing the remaining captives.

* PAKISTAN - July 2007 - At least 105 people are killed when army commandos stormed the Red Mosque and an adjoining seminary for women in Islamabad, after followers of radical clerics running a Taliban-style movement from the complex refused to surrender after a week-long siege.

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