YEREVAN, July 27 /TASS/. Armed attackers who seized a police station in Yerevan on July 17 have released one hostage, Tagui Stepanyan, director of the Skoraya Pomosch (First Aid) company, told TASS.
"The armed assailants have freed medical assistant David Tonoyan," Stepanyan said. According to her, the other ambulance workers remain hostage in the territory of the seized police unit.
At dawn, on July 17, about 30 armed attackers connected to Armenia’s radical opposition rammed into the gates of a Yerevan police station driving a Kraz dump truck and opened fire. In the ensuing shootout, a deputy squad commander was killed, with some policemen and attackers suffering injuries. In the chaos that followed, the assailants managed to abduct on-duty cops and top police brass who arrived at the scene for negotiations. Among those taken hostage are two senior police officials, Major General Vartan Yegiazaryan, Armenia’s deputy police chief, and Colonel Valery Osipyan, Yerevan’s deputy police chief.
The National Security Service, which still believes it is possible to end the hostage standoff through dialogue and negotiations, has called on the armed extremists to immediately cease their lawlessness and violence, which endanger peoples’ lives and well-being and threats against property.
"They should voluntarily lay down arms and surrender to the authorities without resistance. There is little time left to do that but there still is time," the Armenian National Security Service said.
Under Armenian laws, hostage-takers who give up their demands, voluntarily release hostages and surrender to the authorities are exempt from criminal prosecution if their actions do not contain the element of other crimes.