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29 February 2024

Gunmen hold some 30 hostages inside Venezuelan bank

By Agencies


Would-be robbers took about 30 people hostage inside a Venezuelan bank Monday after police arrived outside, the country’s top emergency official said.

Police were negotiating with the gunmen as they held customers and employees inside the bank in the town of Altagracia de Orituco in central Guarico state, said Gen. Antonio Rivero, head of emergency management agency.

Emergency teams waited outside to help hostages and their families, Rivero told The Associated Press. He said no one had been hurt.

The hostage standoff began about 11 a.m., shortly after four gunmen entered the bank, when a uniformed police officer pulled up to use the cash machine, said Amanda Saldivia, a reporter for local radio station Guarana Radio FM.

Six captives made it out of the bank in the hours that followed, including several who were released by the gunmen and a security guard who came running out as they shot at him, missing him, Saldivia said. She said hostages were allowed to call their relatives by cell phone.

Saldivia said several hundred onlookers, including hostages’ relatives, were crowded outside the bank late Monday and that police at the scene said they believed a few children were among the hostages. (AP)