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| Mon 23 Aug 2010 - 15:32 # |
Quote from CNN
- CNN wrote:
- Manila, Philippines (CNN) -- A police assault team charged a bus with 15 people being held hostage by a gunman in the Philippines, breaking the windows with an axe, CNN's Anna Coren reported from the scene.
The gunman sprayed machine gun fire at the hostages, a police spokesman told CNN. It was not clear whether anyone was killed.
The former police officer who took the tourists hostage in the Philippines had threatened "more drastic measures" if police approach him, Manila police official Leocadio Santiago told CNN.
There were 25 people, including 22 foreigners, on the tourist bus when Rolando Mendoza boarded it with a gun, Manila District Police Chief Rodolfo Magtibay said. Nine hostages have been released, he said.
Mendoza is demanding his job back, police told CNN.
He wrote his demand on a board and displayed it in the bus' windshield, the police official said.
"We are optimistic that he will eventually realize that what he is doing is against the law and he will submit to the authorities," Magtibay told CNN.
Mendoza was wearing his uniform and carrying a rifle when he flagged down the tourist bus and asked for a ride, police spokesman Erwin Margarejo told reporters.
A tour guide for Hong Thai Travel tried to stop him from boarding the bus, the company's general manager told reporters.
"The gunman said he wanted to have a free lift. Then the tour guide stopped him," general manager Susanna Lau said. "Eventually the gunman got on the coach and then asked the driver to lock the door."
Lau said the gunman did not threaten people on the bus.
The hostages were calm but confused, Margarejo said. Around 2 p.m. (2 a.m. ET), ANC showed images of signs posted on the bus windshield saying, "Big deal will start after 3 p.m. today" and "3 p.m. today dead lock."
But two hours later, there were no outward signs that the situation had changed.
Police cordoned off the area around the bus as they tried to negotiate, and sharpshooters were stationed nearby. Food was delivered to the hostages still on board.
ANC showed passengers peeking out from behind curtains of the parked bus and a sign posted on the bus door saying, "Big mistake to correct a big wrong decision."
Margarejo said negotiations were continuing.
"The use of force is a last resort," he said.
Mendoza was dismissed a year ago for misconduct unbecoming a police officer, he said.