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Last Updated: Wednesday, 14 March 2007, 07:42 GMT
Manila police end hostage crisis
The hostage taker, identified as Almario Villegas, brandishes a pistol inside the courtroom on 13 March 2007
Mr Villegas had threatened to kill the hostages, officials said
Police in the Philippines have stormed a courtroom in the capital Manila, killing a gunmen to end a day-long hostage drama, officials say.

They say hostage-taker Almario Villegas was shot dead during the operation inside the Taguig Hall of Justice.

Two of the hostages were freed unharmed but the fate of two others - as well as the gunman's girlfriend and alleged accomplice - remains unknown.

Mr Villegas seized the hostages in a dispute over land ownership.

The hostage crisis was ended on Wednesday afternoon, after an elite police unit stormed the courtroom in suburban Manila.

Several gunshots and a loud explosion rang out inside the building as the commandoes went in.

Mr Villegas, a former marine, appeared in the courtroom on Tuesday afternoon over an eviction notice filed by one of the four people he later took hostage.

He then drew a gun and a grenade, threatening to kill the hostages, officials said.

Country profile: The Philippines
20 Dec 06 |  Country profiles

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