MOSCOW, October 26. /TASS/. A commemorative concert and a vigil service were held outside the Dubrovka theater in Moscow on Saturday to honor those killed when terrorists had held the audience and cast hostage during the performance of Nord-Ost musical in 2002, TASS reported from the scene.
The remembrance event was attended by former hostages and those who lost their loved ones in acts of terror both in Russia and abroad, Moscow city officials and the public youth organizations. The vigil was organized by the regional public organization that helps victims of the Dubrovka theater siege.
"As many as 912 people were taken hostage. Among them were performers, the audience, including about 100 children of school age. We will remember this horrible tragedy forever as our loved ones, our kids died in it. I lost my son," Sergei Karpov, chair of the regional public organization assisting the victims of the Dubrovka theater terror attack.
Karpov pointed out that his organization helps both the victims of toxic gas and those who lost their relatives.
In the meantime, Marina Popova, a member of Flight 9268 charity, said that the main goal "which made us unite is to immortalize the memory of those killed."
"On behalf of the charity and public organizations, I offer my most sincere condolences and wish everyone to live a long time, to live the lives of those who died. Be courageous," she added.
Popova told the gathering that the status of a terror victim has not been legally formalized and "we must join efforts in this fight."
The vigil participants laid flowers at the memorial to the victims and released 130 white balloons up into the sky to honor each killed at Dubrovka theater.
History of Dubrovka theater siege
A group of 40 armed terrorists stormed the Dubrovka theater on October 23, 2002, where the Nord-Ost musical was being performed. The terrorists’ leader, Movsar Barayev, demanded from the Russian authorities that the federal forces stop their counterterrorism operation in Chechnya. The terrorists planted explosives inside theater and seated female bombers wearing suicide belts among the audience. In the special services’ operation that lasted 40 minutes, gas was released into the building and then special forces moved in. In the terrorist attack, 130 hostages died. Five were shot dead by the terrorists, but the rest died during the operation or later in hospitals due to oxygen deprivation, dehydration and respiratory disorders.