Gunmen Seize Bus Filled With Students In Philippine Capital

Tuesday, March 27th 2007, 10:08 pm
By: News On 6

MANILA, Philippines (AP) _ Gunmen fleeing from a hold-up seized a bus carrying more than 30 students and teachers in downtown Manila Wednesday and police surrounded the vehicle, officials said.

Hostage-takers scribbled on a piece of paper, visible through the bus window, that they were holding 32 children and two teachers and were armed with grenades, an assault rifle and a pistol, officer Mark Andal said.

TV footage showed the young children waving from the windows and a woman standing with a gunman near her brandishing a grenade.

Police encircled the stalled vehicle near Manila's city hall and officials said they had begun negotiating with the attackers.

Manila police chief Reynaldo Varilla said officials believe that two gunmen were fleeing a hold-up and seized the bus to avoid capture.

``They saw a bus loaded with pupils,'' he told DZMM radio. ``Right now negotiations are ongoing. We hope we can have them surrender peacefully so no one will be hurt.''

There was no immediate word on the ages of the students or details on the reported hold-up.