BREAKING: Ukraine Bus Hostages Freed, Gunman Arrested

An intercity bus with passengers who have been taken hostage by an armed man is seen in the city of Lutsk, some 400 kilometres (250 miles) from the capital Kiev, on July 21, 2020. YURIY DYACHYSHYN / AFP

 

The siege of a bus with 13 passengers by an armed man on Tuesday has ended with all the hostages freed, Ukrainian police said.

“The hostages are freed! The man who took hostages and kept them on a bus in Lutsk has been detained,” the interior ministry posted on Telegram.

The crisis lasted over 12 hours with police managing to first escort three people from the vehicle after lengthy and tense negotiations with the perpetrator.

READ ALSO: Armed Man Holds Passengers Hostage On Bus In Ukraine

The SBU security service said a total of 13 hostages were freed and no civilians were harmed in course of the incident.

“The terrorist has been identified as Maksym Kryvosh, who disseminated extremist views,” the service said in a statement.

Interior minister Arsen Avakov posted photos and videos on his Twitter of people being escorted by security officers and a man in jeans lying face down on the asphalt with hands behind his back.

 

Armed Man Holds Passengers Hostage On Bus In Ukraine

Ukrainian servicemen are seen at the scene where a man took around 20 passengers hostage on a bus in western Ukrainian city of Lutsk, some 400 kilometres (250 miles) from the capital Kiev, on July 21, 2020. YURIY DYACHYSHYN / AFP

 

An armed man carrying explosives has taken around 20 passengers hostage on a bus in the western Ukrainian city of Lutsk, police said Tuesday.

The head of the local police service said shots were heard at the scene but no injuries have been reported so far.

Law enforcement has cordoned off the centre of Lutsk, a city in western Ukraine some 400 kilometres (250 miles) from the capital Kiev, and advised residents not to leave their homes or places of work.

Police said the SBU security services had surrounded the minibus after two shots were fired from it towards law enforcement.

“The attacker threw a grenade from the bus, which, fortunately, did not detonate,” a statement said, adding that the attacker was believed to have undergone psychiatric treatment.

Video footage and pictures published by local media showed heavily armed police in Lutsk surrounding a blue and white minivan with several windows shattered and its curtains drawn.

An intercity bus with passengers who have been taken hostage by an armed man is seen in the city. YURIY DYACHYSHYN / AFP

 

The hostage-taker made contact with the police and identified himself as Maksym Plokhoy, deputy interior minister Anton Gerashchenko said.

The authorities were working to confirm the identity of the attacker, he told AFP.

Gerashchenko said law enforcement was talking with the assailant in the hopes of resolving the crisis “through negotiations”.

‘Anti-system’ suspect

Posts on social media accounts using Plokhoy’s name claimed he was armed, including with bombs.

They described him as “anti-system” and made demands of the authorities.

The interior ministry told AFP it believed the accounts were genuine.

President Volodymyr Zelensky said news of the hostage-taking was “disturbing”.

“Every effort is being made to resolve the situation without casualties,” he said on Facebook.

Interior Minister Arsen Avakov was travelling to the region to coordinate a resolution to the crisis, the ministry said.

Ukraine, which has been fighting Russian-backed separatists since 2014, has been struggling with a proliferation of illegal weapons.

The fighting broke out between Kiev forces and Russian-backed separatists in the eastern Donetsk and Lugansk regions after Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine in 2014.

More than 13,000 people have been killed in the fighting so far.

Police in late 2017 stormed a post office in the eastern city of Kharkiv, where an armed man claiming to be strapped with explosives had captured 11 people.

AFP

Afghanistan Announces Delay In Taliban-For-Hostages Exchange

 

The exchange of three senior Taliban prisoners for two foreign hostages announced by Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has been delayed, a spokesman said Saturday.

The Taliban prisoners “are still being held by the Afghan government. The inability of the Taliban to meet the conditions has caused a delay in the exchange,” Ghani’s spokesman Sediq Sediqqi wrote on Twitter.

The government “will review the exchange process in light of Afghanistan’s national interests,” he said, without providing further details.

Ghani announced the exchange on Tuesday, saying the Taliban prisoners held at Bagram prison would be “conditionally” released.

They include Anas Haqqani, who was seized in 2014 and whose older brother is the deputy Taliban leader and head of the Haqqani network, a notorious Taliban affiliate.

The two foreign hostages — American Kevin King and Australian Timothy Weeks — were kidnapped by gunmen wearing military uniforms in Kabul in August 2016.

Ghani said that “their health has been deteriorating while in the custody of the terrorists”.

He added that the release of the two men, both professors, would “pave the way” for the start of unofficial direct talks between his government and the Taliban, who long have refused to negotiate with Ghani’s administration.

Boko Haram Kill Policeman, Take Several Hostages In Niger

 

Several people have been taken hostage and a policeman killed in an attack by Boko Haram militants in a troubled region of southeastern Niger, a senior official told AFP on Wednesday.

The jihadists, some of them believed to be wearing suicide vests, launched the assault on various parts of the city of Diffa on Tuesday night and it was “still in progress” Wednesday morning, the official said.

Residents described hearing gunshots and loud explosions near the police station.

Two jihadists have been killed, according to provisional figures.

“The attackers, hunted by the security forces, have holed up in the home of a policeman and taken several people hostage,” the official said, who wanted to remain anonymous.

One Diffa resident told AFP the police are “still trying to dislodge them.”

Diffa is close to northeastern Nigeria and borders the Lake Chad basin. It has suffered repeat attacks from Boko Haram.

An estimated 27,000 people have been killed and two million displaced since Boko Haram launched its insurgency in northeastern Nigeria in 2009, a campaign that has spilled over to Niger, as well as Burkina Faso and Chad.

Across Niger, 88 civilians were killed by Boko Haram in March alone, and more than 18,000 people forced to flee their villages, according to the United Nations.

The UN has said it is alarmed by the “rapid deterioration of the security situation” in the Diffa region.

AFP

Bauchi Security: Police Rescue Traditional Ruler, Others From Kidnappers

bauchi security, police rescue, kidnappersThe Bauchi State police command says 49 hostages including the district head of Tama In Toro Local Government Area of the state, have been rescued from the den of kidnappers during an operation by the security agents.

During a press briefing on the activities of the command in fighting crime in the state, the Bauchi State Police Commissioner, Haliru Gwandu, also confirmed that over 50 suspects including the kidnappers of the monarch had been arrested and charged while others are being investigated.

Part of the arrested suspects are armed robbery gangs, cattle rustlers, impersonators and rapists.

Arrested were made by the command through synergy with other security agencies in the state.

Briefing reporters on the command’s efforts in the war against crime, the Police Commissioner said the efforts had been yielding positive results, leading to recovery of arms, ammunition, stolen vehicles and rustled cattle as well as arrest of some suspects.

The suspects were being paraded alongside the various exhibits recovered which include fabricated master keys; police warrant card, complete set of police uniform, boot, handsets firearms and ammunition.

The command also held an interactive session on safety and security in the state with traditional rulers, caretaker committee chairmen of local government councils, and representatives of vigilante groups including clerics and youth leaders.

Community leaders were also at the meeting where modalities for collaboration in fighting crime between the people and security agencies were discussed.

Army Rescues 67 Hostages From Boko Haram

Rescued-persons-from-Boko-HaramSixty-seven persons held hostage by suspected Boko Haram militants in Yobe State, northeast Nigeria, have been freed by the Nigerian Army.

The rescued persons were taken to Kukareta village in the state and they are in the custody of the village head.

One of the rescued captives, Aisha that narrated her ordeal, said they were held in the captivity of the suspected sect members for six months.

The village head of Kukareta, Mallam Lawan Babagana, told reporters that the IDPs were now getting humanitarian support from both the state and the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) pending the time they would be cleared by the appropriate authorities to return home.

“They brought them in the afternoon between 4:00pm and 5:00pm local time on Thursday.

“They are here with us and we take care of them.

“I have already spoken to the director of the SEMA and they brought food stuffs – rice, mattresses cooking oil and others.

“The local government chairman also brought other food stuffs and some amount of money for them to cook with.

“They are cooking for themselves,” he said.

Giving a breakdown of the rescued persons, he said about 44 of them were children, 22 women and one old man.

Mallam Babagana also said that security personnel were also on ground to ensure their safety.