Authorities: 43 bank hostages freed against ex-Soviet republic Georgia

TBILISI, Georgia — Police from the ex-Soviet state of Georgia said 43 people were discharged following an armed assailant took them hostage at a bank Wednesday, a statement which came soon after the local press reported that the gunman escaped and stayed in large holding three hostages.

The Georgian Interior Ministry did not comment on the number of people who were taken hostage or what needs the hostage-taker created, but local press that the assailant had demanded $500,000 in money.

Georgia’s nationwide Mtavari TV station reported that the captor was armed with a hand grenade and aired footage of an area with people sitting on the ground and a guy dressed in an army uniform and covering his face when holding a gun.

On Wednesday evening, many Georgian TV stations said the assailant left the construction taking three hostages with him and his whereabouts were unknown. Two TV stations aired footage of this alleged captor coming from this building with three guys facing him.

Reports said among the 3 hostages still being held could happen to be a local police chief who participates in discussions with the gunman.

In an announcement early Thursday, the ministry stated the 43 freed hostages were”moved to a secure place” and the authorities operation lasted, but did not comment on reports regarding the assailant departing the building with three hostages.