Home » Hostage-taking near Yverdon: perpetrator identified, motivation specified

Hostage-taking near Yverdon: perpetrator identified, motivation specified

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Hostage-taking near Yverdon: perpetrator identified, motivation specified

The man who took passengers and the driver of the train linking Baulmes to Yverdon-les-Bains hostage on Thursday evening has been formally identified: he is indeed a 32-year-old Iranian asylum seeker. He resisted a Taser shot before being shot.

Contrary to what had been announced the day before, his case was attributed to the canton of Geneva and not to that of Neuchâtel, the Vaud cantonal police indicated in a press release late Friday afternoon. The hostages numbered 13 in total and not 15, the police also corrected. Clarification also regarding the weapons on the individual, speaking Farsi and English at the time of the events: he not only had an ax and a knife but also a hammer.

According to the first elements of the investigation, his motivations would be “due to his conditions as an asylum seeker, as well as his insistent desire to have contact with a colleague from a center for asylum seekers” . The police had also had to intervene on several occasions because of his behavior, she notes.

Use of the taser

The police also gave some new details about the assault around 10:15 p.m., after nearly four hours of “a long phase of negotiations” with the hostage taker. The hostage-taking was reported around 6:30 p.m. and the train was stopped at the Essert-sous-Champvent stop, doors closed. Around sixty police officers took position around the train.

“One of the members of the intervention group first used his taser to immobilize the man who was rushing towards them. Armed, the latter nevertheless continued his course in their direction and that of the hostages. “A second member of the unit then used his weapon to neutralize him,” police said.

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The hostage taker was fatally injured, she added. He died on the spot, despite the presence of a doctor among the police intervention team. The passengers were taken care of on site by a health system before being transported by bus to the Mobile Gendarmerie Center in Yverdon. They found their families there. A psychological unit was immediately set up.

Several unknowns

The investigation continues under the direction of the Public Prosecutor’s Office. It aims on the one hand to further clarify the motivations of the hostage-taker and on the other hand to establish the circumstances which led to the shooting of the police officer, further indicates the Vaud police.

At this stage, the terrorist trail is “clearly not” favored. “No element points us towards a terrorist act. Neither terrorist nor jihadist,” Jean-Christophe Sauterel, spokesperson for the Vaud police, told Keystone-ATS on Friday.

Other questions remain unanswered: at which station did the hostage-taker board the train, whether he suffered from possible psychological disorders, how long ago he had arrived in Switzerland, was he under the radar for past violent?

For its part, the Travys train company explained that it had given investigators video surveillance recordings of the wagon and several stations on the line. She also praised the “exemplary” attitude of her driver. The employee “was interacting with the hostage-taker and helped calm the situation,” according to her.

Political consequences

The affair will have political consequences. In a press release, the UDC Vaud calls for “an end to asylum insecurity immediately”. Its group leader Cédric Weissert will speak at the next session of the Grand Council. National Councilor Yvan Pahud will file an inquiry in Bern to find out the status of the applicant responsible for the hostage-taking.

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“This is an exceptional event. The police are trained for this type of intervention, as they demonstrated yesterday, since today the thirteen people taken hostage are out of danger,” stressed the advisor. Vaudois State Minister Vassilis Venizelos in charge of security on the RTS show Forum.

“Rules respected”

“At this stage, I have no reason to think that the rules were not respected,” he added in response to a question on the use of weapons by the police after another case in Morges in 2021. He also did not want to put asylum policy on trial. “We will analyze the various events very scrupulously and we will take the necessary measures,” he said.

Federal Councilor Beat Jans, for his part, took to social media to indicate that he had followed this hostage-taking “with great emotion”. He announced that the State Secretariat for Migration “will analyze this case and the possible consequences with the cantons concerned”.

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