Terrorist Takes Students Hostage

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–On December 9–at 9:30 a.m. an armed youth burst into Yerevan Teachers Training Institute and took 15 students hostage. Witnesses say the terrorist demanded a loudspeaker and 10 teachers to exchange them for government members to whom he was going to make his claims.

Introducing himself as a Guinness record breaker–Artyem Minasyan–who is known to have been a renowned athlete–was armed with two rifles and–talking to the students–said that none of them would be injured if his claims were met. Minasyan said that if anyone called the police or attempts were made to apprehend him–his friends would blow up seven buildings in Yerevan which had been mined in advance.

The witnesses’ accounts are slightly different from official information. According to information provided by the Ministry of National Security–the director of the Institute was also among the hostages; however Dean of the Department of Armenian Language and Literature Martin Gilavian said that Director Dmitry Nazarian had entered the classroom to negotiate with the terrorist. Thereafter he helped law-enforcement agencies apprehend the terrorist by pushing Minasyan–who lost his balance and fell down. Police reported that the terrorist received two non-fatal bullet wounds and was transported to a hospital at 10:15 a.m. No casualties among students were reported.

The Prosecutor’s Office has initiated criminal proceedings in connection with the incident.

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