On September 20, the police detained an armed robber who took hostages at the Bank of Georgia branch in Kutaisi, western Georgia. The police operation, including negotiation lasted eight hours and ended around 20:00. All hostages are free, nobody was hurt.
Investigation has been launched under Articles 323 (act of terrorism), 329 (taking a hostage for terrorist purposes) and 236 (illegal purchase, storage, carrying of firearms and ammunition) of the Criminal Code of Georgia.
According to media reports, an armed robber broke into the Bank of Georgia branch in Kutaisi at noon and took fourteen hostages. Social media footage showed a masked man in military-style fatigues apparently armed with a hand grenade. The robber reportedly demanded USD 2 million, a helicopter and a Russian flag.
The Georgian Interior Ministry said in a statement released later the same day that the hostage-taker was identified as G. N. (some media reports identify him as Grigol Narsia), born in 1985.
Deputy Interior Minister Aleksandre Darakhvelidze said he was armed with firearms, a knife, hand grenades, and other ammunition. Darakhvelidze commended the police officers for apprehending the armed hostage-taker without an armed incident. He also denied media reports that the bank robber had been former employee of the Interior Ministry’s Protection Police Department – a detachment that mainly assures guarding duties at public buildings. Darakhvelidze clarified that he was not an incumbent employee. Asked whether the robber had been a former police officer, he responded that the Ministry would report on it later.