Children freed; hostage-taker in custody

Dec. 13, 2010 at 7:57 AM
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BESANCON, France, Dec. 13 (UPI) -- Four children and a teacher are free after being held hostage Monday by a sword-wielding teenager in Besancon, France, police said.

Officers from an elite police unit negotiated the release of the hostages from Charles Fourier pre-school where a 17-year-old male armed with swords took over their classroom, British broadcaster Sky News reported.

The teen, who reportedly suffers from psychological problems, stormed the nursery school and initially took 20 children, ages 4 to 6, hostage, Radio France Internationale reported. The freed children were escorted out by a teacher's aide who returned to the classroom as requested by the hostage-taker.

Besancon Mayor Jean-Louis Fousseret said the teen "went into the establishment armed with two swords and declaring that he wanted something," but did not elaborate, Radio France Internationale reported.

Other classes were evacuated and psychological and medical assistance was made available to the children's families, Sky News reported.

Fousseret's aide, Jean-Marc Magda, told reporters the teen had a "personality disorder" and his doctor had been consulted before police entered the building.

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