Gunmen in Armenia take medics hostage

Avet Demourian
Associated Press

Yerevan, Armenia — Gunmen who have been barricaded in a police station in the Armenian capital for 10 days took members of an ambulance crew hostage on Wednesday after they came in to treat those wounded in an exchange of fire with officers, police said.

One of the crew, a doctor, was released Wednesday night, the Armenian Health Ministry said on its Facebook page, but did not give details.

The group seized the police post in Yerevan on July 17, killing one officer, wounding several others and taking those remaining hostage to demand freedom for a jailed opposition figure. The last of those hostages were released on Saturday.

After an exchange of fire before dawn Wednesday, two of the gunmen surrendered and one police officer and two gunmen were taken to hospitals for treatment of gunshot wounds. More than 20 gunmen are believed to remain in the police station.

Police spokesman Ashot Agaronyan said the gunmen took several paramedics hostage after they were called in to treat the wounded.

An anti-government protest held outside the police station on Wednesday ended with the detentions of about 300 people, including Armenian-Canadian actress Arsinee Khanjian.

Khanjian’s lawyer, Aramazd Kivirian, said early Thursday that she had been released from custody.