Gunman holds hostages at bank in ex-Soviet republic Georgia

Authorities in the ex-Soviet republic of Georgia say an armed assailant has taken hostages at a bank

Via AP news wire
Wednesday 21 October 2020 18:14
Georgia Hostage Taking
Georgia Hostage Taking

An armed assailant took bank employees and customers hostage Wednesday in the ex-Soviet nation of Georgia, authorities said. Local media reported that up to 19 hostages could be inside the bank.

The Georgian Interior Ministry didn’t comment on how many people were being held in the western town of Zugdidi or what demands the hostage-taker had made. Police sealed off the area and launched an operation “to neutralize the assailant,” the ministry said in a statement.

Georgia's national Mtavari TV channel reported that the captor was armed with a hand grenade and demanding $500,000 in cash.

Mtavari TV said it spoke to one of the hostages, who relayed that the assailant was holding 19 people inside the bank. The TV channel aired footage of a room with people sitting on the floor and a man dressed in a military uniform and covering his face holding a rifle.

Georgian broadcaster First Channel reported, citing the Interior Ministry, reported later Wednesday that two hostages had been released while 17 people remained in the bank. Negotiations with the hostage-taker continued, First Channel said.