Monday, July 18, 2016

Assailants Hold 5 Hostage in Armenia Police Station

TBILISI – An armed group that stormed the police headquarters in the Armenian capital of Yerevan held five people hostage on Monday, according to media reports from neighboring countries.

A police colonel was killed in the assault, and four other officers were injured.

Among those being held hostage is the Deputy Chief of the National Police, Vardan Eguiazarian.

The suspects took over the police station on Sunday, calling for an armed uprising against the government and demanding the release of opposition politician and leader of the New Armenian Public Salvation Front, Zhirayr Sefilian.

In addition to freedom for Sefilian, the group was demanding the resignation of President Serge Sargsian and the establishment of a transitional government.

A veteran of the Nagorno-Karabakh war in Azerbaijan between Azerbaijani and Armenian groups, Sefilian was detained on June 20 for possession of weapons and explosives and has been held by police for over a month.

His supporters deny the claim and accuse authorities of persecuting their leader.

Authorities have begun negotiating with the rebels to try to persuade them to lay down their arms and surrender.

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