Last week, Tanik Kuizev buried a niece who was among hundreds of those who died after a North Ossetian school was seized by raiders, among whom were members of a rival Ingush ethnic group. After Wednesday, he vows, he will bury an Ingush to be killed in retribution, The Associated Press reports.
Fears are high that Ossetians will seek bloody revenge for the more than 330 people – more than half of them children – who died in the maelstrom of gunfire and explosions at the school on Sept. 3.
Russians traditionally observe 40 days of mourning after a death. Wednesday is the 40th day, and Ossetians say the end of the mourning period could herald an outbreak of inter-ethnic violence in days to come.
“There will be violence. It won’t be noisy. It will be quiet – one person at a time,” Kuizev said as he wandered through the burned-out husk of the school, stepping over flowers and stuffed animals left in memory of the victims.
Although Kuizev’s 12-year-daughter was among the hostages, she survived. But that hasn’t softened his anger.
“They say, ‘forgive, forgive.’ How do you forgive something like this? How do you explain this? Forgive? No way,” Kuizev said.
“It’s not a secret that we are waiting” for the end of the 40-day period, said 67-year-old Sergei Tandaleyev of the village of Sunja.
“We will demand that (the Ingush) leave. All of them,” he said. If they don’t, “there will be war.”