Yerevan: Gunmen free police hostages, but refuse to lay down weapons

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By Euronews
Yerevan: Gunmen free police hostages, but refuse to lay down weapons

Armed men, who took nine police officers hostage in the Armenian capital Yerevan, have freed the four remaining captives.

But they are refusing to lay down their weapons at the police compound where they’re holed up.

They want a jailed opposition leader released and for the president to go.

“We demand the resignation of the so-called president, the release of Jirair Sefilian and a government of people’s trust,” said Setrak Nazaryan, one of the gunmen.

“If Jirair Sefilian was here right now and told us to lay down our weapons and would do the rest himself, then we’d give up our weapons voluntarily.”

Sefilian is accused by authorities of plotting civil unrest. He was jailed in June over allegations of illegally possessing weapons.

The former military commander accuses President Serzh Sarksyan of mishandling a long-running conflict between Armenian-backed separatists and Azeri forces in the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region.

The gunmen seized the police station last Sunday, killing a police officer and wounding two others. Nine were taken hostage.

They released two of the captives on the same day and three more on Monday (18 July 2016).

The number of armed men remaining at the police station is unclear.