Sunday, August 22, 2010

Ex-policeman holds bus in Manila, 7 hostages freed

A tourist walks away from a bus containing hostages after he was released by former police officer Rolando Mendoza (top) at Quirino Grandstand in Manila August 23, 2010. The disgruntled ex-policeman armed with an automatic rifle was holding 18 people, including tourists from Hong Kong, hostage on a bus in downtown Manila on Monday, demanding his reinstatement to the force.



MANILA — A disgruntled ex-policeman armed with an automatic rifle was holding 18 people, including tourists from Hong Kong, hostage on a bus in downtown Manila on Monday, demanding his reinstatement to the force.

Two negotiators had approached the bus and spoken to the gunman, identified by police as Rolando Mendoza. He gave the negotiators a list of demands, local television reported.

Mendoza, armed with a M-16 rifle and small arms, had released seven hostages: a man, three women and three children, police said. He asked for food for the remaining 18 on the bus, which was delivered, and fuel to keep the air-conditioning going.

A Manila police spokesman said Mendoza was co-operating with the authorities and that the use of force would be a last resort.

"They are all safe, no untoward incident has been reported," Manila Vice Mayor Isko Moreno told radio station DZMM of the tourists on the bus.

Police had established a landline connection with the bus, which was stopped across the eight-lane park road in front of the Quirino grandstand, where President Benigno Aquino III had taken his oath of office on June 30.

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