Police freed four schoolgirls held hostage by an Iranian man wielding kitchen knives on Tuesday. The man held the girls in a house in Ennepetal, North Rhine-Westphalia, for five hours.
The kidnapper forced the bus to stop and held the kids in a nearby house
The man, thought to be a 50-year-old Iranian, pulled two knives on a bus that the children were taking home from school shortly before 1 p.m. CET, eyewitnesses said. He reportedly tied up ten of the children and forced them and the driver out of the bus. Several of the kids were then able to escape, but four girls, aged between 11 and 16, failed to get away.
The man pushed aside a woman unlocking the door to her house and forced the girls into the cellar, where he remained holed up with them for hours. The police were able to make contact with the man, though he didn't issue any demands.
Special forces managed to overpower the man shortly after 6 p.m. and free the hostages. Speaking to reporters, police said that one of the girls had a small, non-threatening knife wound, and that the others were unharmed. Their captive suffered some injuries when he was overpowered, though police refused to give any further details.
The children were reunited with their families shortly after their release and were given psychological support.
Witnesses said the man wanted his family to be brought from Iran to Germany. "He said he was unhappy with the German government and that's why he wanted to take hostages," one of the girls who managed to escape told DPA.
Police have cordoned off the area surrounding the house where the man held the girls. Neighborhood residents said he lived in a nearby street.