Bus explosion in Russia’s south ‘an act of terrorism’
It would have been a routine security check for the driver and passengers on the bus but, as it stopped at a police checkpoint, a powerful bomb exploded.
The driver Pavel Zaseyev finds it hard to say exactly what happened. He was injured but helped the passengers to get out of the burning bus.
“We had driven just about 20 metres past the checkpoint when the bomb went off. I managed to drag two women out,” he said.
According to investigators, the explosive device used was packed with small particles to maximise the damage.
Most of the passengers received concussion and injuries to their arms and legs.
“When it exploded I was on the backseat. There were no more than three or four people around me. I don't remember their faces,” recalled passenger Anatoly Tantsorov.
The checkpoint at the border between Russia's republics of North Ossetia and Kabardino-Balkaria is one of the few places on the Federal Caucasus highway where all vehicles go through a mandatory security check. Right now it’s still unclear whether the bomb detonated unexpectedly or was deliberately triggered.
The blast was so powerful that three bodies were so severely mutilated that it’s so far been impossible to identify them.
While several survivors still remain in hospital in Elkhotovo village, the police in both Kabardino-Balkaria and North Ossetia are investigating all possible leads. They say that those responsible for it will be brought to justice.