And they may have. From CNN, :
BESLAN, Russia (CNN) — A suspect in the bloody school siege that left more than 330 people dead, nearly half of them children, said Monday the hostage-takers were ordered to seize the school to “start a war across the Caucasus.”
Appearing on Russian state television, the unidentified man said the attack was ordered by Chechen rebel leader Aslan Maskhadov and Chechen warlord Shamil Basayev.
Here is a message from Basayev, full of jihadist language and goals, that we posted here last January.
“They gathered us in the woods and ‘The Colonel’ said that we should take over a school in Beslan. That was our order,” he said.
“When we asked why we were doing this, what our goal was, ‘The Colonel’ answered us, ‘Because we need to start a war across the Caucasus.”
He said the hostage-takers included Uzbeks, Arabs and Chechens.
The video also showed investigators displaying weapons confiscated in their search of the wrecked and bombed out school.
The suspect earlier had said he did not fire a shot inside the school and that he “pitied the children” who were taken captive.
“Of course I pitied the children, I swear to Allah. I have children myself. I didn’t shoot. I swear to Allah,” he said. “I don’t want to die. I swear to Allah, I want to live.”
So did the children in Beslan, eh, mate?