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Armenia seige ends as gunmen surrender

Within a week, the group had released all its hostages, including two senior police officers, but they then took four doctors hostage and refused to surrender Photograph: (Reuters)

Reuters Yerevan, Armenia Jul 31, 2016, 08.36 PM (IST)

Armed men who seized a police station in the Armenian capital Yerevan surrendered to the authorities on Sunday (July 31) after a two-week stand-off, the country's National Security Service said.

A group of around 30 gunmen had originally seized the police station on July 17, killing a police officer, wounding two others and taking nine people hostage.

A second policeman, outside the building, was killed on Saturday (July 30), when the police had given the men an ultimatum to surrender. Several gunmen were also wounded during the 14 days of the stand-off.

The hostage-takers' main demand was the release of Jirair Sefilian, an opposition leader accused by the authorities of plotting civil unrest. Sefilian was jailed in June over allegations of illegally possessing weapons.

The armed men included veterans of the war in Nagorno-Karabakh with neighbouring Azerbaijan, and were seen as national heroes by their supporters, who want the government to pursue a harder line on the issue.

Within a week, the group had released all its hostages, including two senior police officers, but they then took four doctors hostage and refused to surrender. The doctors were also eventually released.

?(Reuters)

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