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Armenian Police Say Two Gunmen Surrender, One Injured


Armenia - Ruben Grigoian and Gevorg Melkonian, members of an armed opposition group who police say have surrendered to the Armenian authorities, 31 Jul, 2016

Armenia - Ruben Grigoian and Gevorg Melkonian, members of an armed opposition group who police say have surrendered to the Armenian authorities, 31 Jul, 2016

Two more opposition gunmen barricaded inside a police station in Yerevan have surrendered to the authorities, the Armenian police said on Sunday.

In a video released by the police, the men identified as Ruben Grigorian and Gevorg Melkonian say that they were misled by fellow group members and that they remained inside the compound out of fear for their own lives.

The police spokesman, Ashot Aharonian, said separately that another member of the armed group, Sedrak Nazarian, was injured on Sunday morning and taken to a hospital. Aharonian did not specify whether his injuries were a result of a shoot-out or a police raid.

Gunfire and explosions were heard from the compound in the morning. An amateur video uploaded to YouTube purportedly shows the explosions.

About a dozen other gunmen affiliated with Founding Parliament, a fringe opposition group, were caught by security forces earlier this week. Most of them apparently surrendered to the authorities after being shot and wounded.

The armed group reportedly comprised 30 or so members when it seized a police headquarters in Yerevan’s Erebuni district on July 17. It demanded the release of Founding Parliament’s jailed leader, Zhirayr Sefilian, and President Serzh Sarkisian’s resignation.

Armenia’s government rejected those demands, with the National Security Service giving the gunmen until Saturday evening to lay down their arms. The gunmen rejected the ultimatum.

Armenia - The remaining two medics released by opposition gunmen on 31 July 2016

Armenia - The remaining two medics released by opposition gunmen on 31 July 2016

Meanwhile, the remaining two doctors held hostage by the gunmen were released from the compound early on Sunday. The gunmen’s leader, Varuzhan Avetisian, claimed afterwards, that they were free to leave anytime.

Avetisian admitted on Friday, however, that the medics are being held against their will. He said they will be allowed to leave the compound only if the authorities replace them by another ambulance crew.

“If there are no doctors here they will shoot us one by one,” Avetisian told RFE/RL’s Armenian service by phone.

On Sunday, Avetisian also denied that one of his men killed a police officer about an hour after the expiry of the government ultimatum.

According to the police, the 30-year-old officer, Yuri Tepanosian, was shot dead by sniper fire as he sat in a police car packed about 400 meters from the seized compound. The police released what they called a photograph of a gunman who presumably killed Tepanosian. The purported gunman is shown holding a sniper rifle on the compound’s roof.

Another, more high-ranking policeman, Artur Vanoyan, was killed when the gunmen stormed and seized the compound on July 17.

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