Special Operation Rescues Hostages in Bank in Astana

ASTANA – Law enforcement agencies stormed the premises of Kaspi Bank in Astana on June 18, rescuing all hostages and neutralizing the hostage taker, reports the Ministry of Internal Affairs. 

The branch of the Kaspi Bank, which was taken hostage, is located on Dostyk Street, the central part of Astana. Photo credit: Ministry of Internal Affairs

At around 3 p.m., an armed individual broke into the Kaspi Bank building on Dostyk Street and took seven employees hostage, according to the ministry’s statement. 

Police immediately responded to the scene and cordoned off the area while trained negotiators initiated dialogue with the captor in an attempt to resolve the situation. According to the ministry, Internal Affairs Minister Marat Akhmetzhanov led the negotiations.

After the negotiations, armed officers entered the building to overpower the captor and ensure the safety of the hostages. Members of the Arlan special-purpose unit were working at the site. No military personnel were involved in the special operation.

“There are no casualties, but they will be examined by medics, because tear gas was used. A stun grenade was used at the beginning of the assault. There was also no damage to the building,” Akhmetzhanov told journalists.  

The minister said demands put forward by the captor were illegal. 

“He asked us to transfer money to certain accounts to help his family and friends. We involved his relatives in the negotiations to talk to him. But he did not agree to their demands. Therefore, we had to conduct a forceful operation,” said Akhmetzhanov.

According to him, once the investigation concludes, banks will receive guidance on safeguarding themselves.

“Of course, we will thoroughly investigate all aspects related to today’s incident to identify the factors that contributed to it. Subsequently, all banks will be presented with recommendations aimed at eliminating those violations that may contribute to a recurrence of such incidents,” said the minister.

“The security, according to instructions, immediately activated the panic button, and the police arrived on the scene as quickly as possible. The operation to free the hostages lasted two hours and ended successfully. The perpetrator was neutralized. According to law enforcement authorities, the man is on a drug treatment registry,” said Kaspi Bank in a statement following the incident.

Astana Akim (mayor) Zhenis Kassymebk, who was also present on the scene, expressed gratitude to police officers and the ministry for their prompt actions. 

“I would like to express my gratitude to the police officers, the leadership of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and others who participated in the release of the hostages at the Kaspi bank branch. Thanks to their well-coordinated and prompt actions, we managed to neutralize the captor. The hostages were not injured. They were examined by medics,” wrote Kassymbek on Facebook.                                                                                                                                                                                                          

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