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Among those captured were Zalina Dzandarova and her children, two-year-old Alan and six-year-old Alana. The three were held hostage for a day and a half when armed terrorists forced Zalina to make a choice: Get out safely with one child and leave the other, or stay and all three would be executed.

Leaving her daughter behind, Zalina was forced to walk out with only her son. For 21 hours, a terrified Zalina and her husband waited in agony outside the school. When Russian soldiers finally stormed the building, Zalina and her husband Batraz searched desperately for Alana. They found her lying in a hospital, covered in someone else's blood, but with no major wounds. Batraz has six other relatives who were held hostage in the school, including his sister who was seriously injured and is still in a Moscow hospital.

Oprah: How does a mother make that choice?

Zalina: I wasn't making a choice. I didn't understand what I was doing. There wasn't time to think about it.

Oprah: How do you feel, Batraz, about all that has happened?

Batraz: This can happen anywhere in the world. Not only Beslan. Anywhere in the world. I don't want kids in the world to feel that and know that and have this experience.
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FROM: Children Held Hostage
Published on September 23, 2004

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