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News About Yerevan Gunmen Taking Medics Hostage Is ‘Police Disinformation,’ Oppositionist Claims

Armenia’s police said on Wednesday that the gunmen who have been occupying a Yerevan police station for ten days have taken an ambulance crew hostage after the latter were sent in to provide medical help to those wounded in an overnight fire exchange with police officers.

Alek Yenigomshyan, a member of anti-government movement Founding Parliament with which the gunmen are affiliated, however, told a news conference later in the day that the law enforcement agency was spreading disinformation and that the armed group were not holding anyone hostage. According to Yenigomshyan, the gunmen are only demanding that there be a round-the-clock medical assistance available to them and they are ready to let the ambulance crew go if the latter are replaced by other medics.

Note, Armenia’s Ambulance Service has been refusing since June 23 to provide medical aid to those barricaded inside the police station, claiming that the medics are scared of the gunmen’s weapons. At the same time, officials say, the medical personnel are willing to treat the “Daredevils of Sasun” at a neutral zone when they are unarmed.

Armenak Kyureghyan, the father of the two of the gunmen – Areg and Sergey Kyureghyan, also condemned the “disinformation” coming from the police, stating that Armenian authorities “have started a propaganda war against their own people.”

“I had a phone conversation with my son in the morning and he told me that police officers opened heavy fire on Pavil Manukyan on Tuesday evening as the latter attempted to negotiate with them about providing the group with a medic or taking the injured gunman to a hospital. Upon seeing that his father was being shot at, Pavlik’s son rushed to his rescue and he too got shot at. Another ‘Daredevils of Sasun’ member was wounded when he tried to help his friends,” Kyureghyan told reporters. He added that, according to his son, the police claim that gunmen Gagik Yeghiazaryan’s and Aram Hakobyan’s surrender to the authorities had been voluntary was also untrue.