Communication by the City Police Bern:
Hostage drama in the Spanish Consulate over
This morning at 8 a.m. the City Police Bern were informed that one or several unknown persons had taken one or several members of staff of the Spanish Consulate hostage. The City Police Bern managed to get both people who were in the Consulate to safety.
The police made sure that no further hostages were in the building. In consultation with the Confederation’s Special Unit for Hostage-taking, the City Police’s Special Unit „Stern“ checked the Consulate at 1.30 p.m. and found the building to be empty.
According to the information available to date, three armed men forced their way into the consulate building early this morning and demanded the consulate staff present to open the safe. At the same time a vehicle drew up outside the building. After the hostage-takers discovered that the driver of the vehicle was also a consulate member of staff arriving for work, one of the hostage-takers went outside and attempted to overpower the driver, threatening him with a knife. The driver tried to resist and sustained fairly serious head injuries, although he managed to break free and get to safety. Another member of staff who was also just arriving at the consulate was pulled by one of the hostage-takers inside the building and taken to a room together with the other hostage. The hostage-takers must have already left the building before the police arrived.
The injured consulate staff member who had managed to escape reported to a City Police patrol responsible for embassy protection that a hostage-taking drama was unfolding at the Spanish Consulate, and the area around the building was cordoned off by the police. The two staff members who were in the consulate assumed that the hostage-takers were still in the building and were frightened to come out of the room.
The police managed to establish contact with the hostages who were able to leave the building at 10.30 a.m. under police protection.
After ensuring that no further staff members were still in the consulate, the police checked the building and found it to be empty. The culprits are still on the run. The police assume that the act was of a criminal and not a political nature.
Police Headquarters of the City of Bern