Shootout injures one officer, 4 gunmen in Armenia
A police officer and four gunmen have reportedly been injured in an exchange of fire at a police compound in the Armenian capital, Yerevan.
Police spokesman Ashot Aharonyan said Wednesday that the clashes broke out at the police compound that was seized over ten days ago.
The gunmen stormed the facility on July 17, killing a police officer.
Aharonyan said that two of the gunmen and the police officer were in hospital being treated for their wounds while another two wounded armed men remained on the compound.
He said gunmen, holed up in the police station, took four medics hostage, as they “went into the captured territory to assist two members of the armed group who refused to go to hospital.”
“The police are taking steps to free the doctors through negotiations,” Aharonyan said.
The armed men have been demanding the release of Zhirair Sefilyan, an opposition leader accused by the government of plotting civil unrest. Sefilyan was jailed in June over allegations of illegal weapons possession.
Also on Monday, thousands of people staged a rally in Yerevan to voice solidarity with the pro-opposition gunmen.
The assailants had taken nine people hostage but gradually released all of them. They remained holed up inside the police building surrounded by security forces.
Police have cut electricity to the station and are refusing to deliver food after the release of the last hostages.
Of the total nine people taken hostage, the gunmen released two soon after the attack and three more a day later. Four police officers were also released on July 23 after negotiations with the hostage-takers, police said.
Sefilyan, an ethnic-Armenian who was born in Lebanon and fought during the Arab country’s civil war of the 1980s, has served jail terms since 2006 on charges of attempting to overthrow the government.
He opposes President Serzh Sargsyan, who has been ruling the country of 2.9 million people since he won contested elections in 2008.