Philippines bus hostage drama ends, hijacker shot dead

Published: Aug 23, 2010, 18:47 IST | Agencies |

Philippine police in helmets and flak jackets crouched beside a bus with 15 Chinese tourists held hostages inside on Monday after firing shots at the tires in a bid to end a daylong standoff led by a dismissed policeman.

Philippine police in helmets and flak jackets crouched beside a bus with 15 Chinese tourists held hostages inside on Monday after firing shots at the tires in a bid to end a daylong standoff led by a dismissed policeman.

There was no immediate word on casualties. But the Filipino driver who escaped moments before police surrounded the bus in downtown Manila said the hostage-taker, armed with an M16 rifle, had opened fire at the tourists, police officer Roderick Mariano said.

Police used hammers to smash side windows, door and windscreen, but still did not enter the vehicle and there was no movement seen inside.

Dismissed police officer Rolando Del Rosario Mendoza fired several gunshots inside and outside the stationary bus in a seaside park in Manila.

"I just shot two hostages," Mendoza told DZXL radio station as screams and crying were heard before the line was cut off.

The bus driver, a Filipino identified only as Alberto, escaped during Mendoza's outburst.

Heavily armed police officers launched an assault on the bus immediately after the gunshots and Mendoza's claim that he shot two of the remaining hostages.

Mendoza seized the bus nearly 10 hours earlier and demanded that authorities review his dismissal from the force in February 2009 due to extortion and harassment.

He has denied any wrongdoing and filed an appeal.

There were 25 people inside the bus when it was seized, including 20 Chinese tourists and a travel guide from Hong Kong and four Filipinos.

Six Chinese tourists, including three children, and three Filipinos were subsequently freed unharmed as "gifts" to negotiators, said Manila city vice mayor Isko Moreno.

"He released a couple of the hostages as a goodwill gesture to the negotiations," he said.

Police said 15 Chinese nationals and one Filipino were still being held hostage by Mendoza.

Before Mendoza opened fire, a 44-year-old Chinese woman told DZXL that she and her 15-year-old daughter were among the hostages.

"We are okay but we are afraid," she said.

Alberto also told the radio station that he and the Chinese nationals were okay but tired. He added that they were all just sitting down.

"I hope they give in to the demand of police officer Mendoza so this will end," he said. "To my family, don't worry about me. I am just okay here."

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