By Karine Kalantarian
Dozens of teachers and other staff were briefly evacuated from a school building in central Yerevan on Thursday after what turned out to be a false bomb alert.
An assistant to the school principal said she received a phone call from an unknown man in the morning shortly before a planned staff meeting that was due to discuss preparations for the start of a new academic year.
“He said an explosive device was planted in the school and said we should evacuate all people,” she said. “When I asked who I am talking to, he hung up.”
Security forces, joined by rescue workers and ambulances, arrived at the secondary school No. 26 and ordered its personnel to leave the building shortly after being informed about the call. They searched the building and found no explosives there.
School officials said no students were inside the building on Thursday morning. The new academic year in Armenia starts on September 1.
“This is the third such incident in the history of our schools,” said Onik Vatian, head of the Yerevan municipality’s education department. “I find it unacceptable.”
The incident occurred less than two months after a similar phone call forced the evacuation of employees of several government ministries located in a single building. Police arrested on the same day an elderly man who allegedly made the false alert. He was said to have a history of mental illness.