British troops rushed into Armagh Prison under cover of tear gas on Thursday and freed two guards and a policeman held hostage by several prisoners.
British troops rushed into Armagh Prison under cover of tear gas on Thursday and freed two guards and a policeman held hostage by several prisoners. The troops donned gas masks shortly after a man appeared at a prison window saying he was the policeman involved and that one of the guards had been killed. It was learned later that no one had been killed and that the policeman had made the statement at gunpoint.
The prisoners had jumped their escort of two guards and policeman in the prison yard, after returning from court. They herded the hostages into a downstairs room where they ordered prison officials to provide them with free passage to the Irish Republic, a few miles (kms) away.
SYNOPSIS: In Northern Ireland on Thursday, security officers surrounded Armagh Prison a few miles from the Irish Republic border. The soldiers and police were called in to seal off the prison, after the prisoners had grabbed hostages on the way back from the courthouse. The men overpowered a policeman and then captured two prison officers.
A window was broken in the room downstairs, where the negotiations had been going on for four hours. They had locked themselves in the room and demanded free passage to the Irish Republic. This the governor refused to do.
One of the men came to a window and shouted to people across the road. Soldiers stood by in case of an attempted breakout.
As the negotiations were going on, security forces were making plans to break into the room and try to rescue the hostages. Then came the fear that one of the hostages had been shot.
A policeman appeared at a window and told reporters that a prison officer had been killed. It was later learned that the policeman made the statement at gunpoint.
Then tear gas was used as soldiers forced their way in, overpowered the prisoners and released all the hostages unharmed.