Britons held hostage in Rio

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The Independent US

Two British tourists have told how they were held hostage in Brazil by robbers armed with guns and grenades.

Seven men burst into the hostel in Rio de Janeiro before holding about 34 people hostage for several hours and stealing their belongings, the pair said. Rollo Skinner, 18, from Dorset, said he was woken by men slapping him about his face yesterday.

“There was a guy in the room next to us who was woken up by a grenade in his face and they said, ‘Boom boom’ to him, and asked him to give his camera, iPod, money, etc. It was pretty scary.”

His friend, Bertie Herrtage, also 18, from Somerset, said he was forced to tie Mr Skinner up before being tied up himself. “I just thought they were guys off the street, but then they had guns,” he said. “We stood in the corridor for a bit looking at our feet whilst they rounded everyone else up, and then we all got filed into an empty dorm, and we were locked in there. Everyone was tied up. We were there for about an hour-and-a-half, and then they went through our rooms with knives cutting open all the bags, breaking off all the locks, taking all the cameras, all the phones, iPods and all the money. But they left us with our passports. It was pretty freaky but I didn’t feel they were properly going to hurt people though they did knock people around a bit.”

The tourists freed themselves after the robbers had gone. Brazilian detectives are said to have identified suspects in the incident. The robberies happened just as celebrations were getting under way for Rio’s carnival.