Monday, August 23, 2010

Commandos storm tourist bus, fire stun grenade

MANILA, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Aug. 23, 2010) – Police commandos fired stun grenades inside a tourist bus in Manila where over a dozen Hong Kong tourists were being held hostage Monday, but there were no signs that any of the captives are alive.

Sporadic firing can still be heard from inside the bus where a dismissed police officer, Rolando Mendoza, accused of robbery and extortion, hijacked the vehicle and held its passengers hostage.

At least 9 people had been released since early this day and the bus driver escaped later in the night after jumping out of the window. He was quoted as saying that the remaining captives had been shot and killed.

No officials would confirm the report until commandos take control of the bus.

Earlier in the night, policemen arrested a brother of the hostage-taker, Gregorio Mendoza, after he was accused of instigating, instead of convincing the armed man to surrender peacefully, according to Director Leocadio Santiago, chief of police forces in the National Capital Region.

The arrest of Mendoza’s elder brother may have prompted him to shoot the hostages. Mendoza’s brother told reporters that policemen would kill him after accusing him of conspiring with the hostage-taker, an accusation he vehemently denied.

Moments after the arrest of Mendoza, several shots rang inside the bus where the tourists were being held by the former cop.

Officials said Mendoza, armed with an automatic rifle, hijacked the bus, mostly carrying Hong Kong students, to air his gripe. His brother and wife also urged him to surrender peacefully. (Mindanao Examiner)

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