A hostage-taking took place on a regional train between Yverdon and Sainte-Croix on Thursday around 6:30 p.m. After several hours, all hostages were released unharmed.
A cantonal police officer observes the train on which a hostage-taking took place at Essert-sous-Champvent train station.
Laurent Gillieron / Keystone
In the case of the hostage-taking on a regional train in French-speaking Switzerland, the police have provided initial information about the perpetrator’s motive. Investigations have shown that the Iranian wanted to draw attention to his situation as an asylum seeker. The man also persistently tried to get in touch with an employee at an asylum seekers center.
According to previous findings, the perpetrator was a 32-year-old Iranian who was assigned to the canton of Geneva as an asylum seeker. On Thursday he took 14 passengers and the train driver hostage on a regional train between Yverdon and Sainte-Croix. According to police, the perpetrator was armed with an axe, a hammer and a knife. He spoke Farsi and English. The train was stopped at the Essert-sous-Champvent stop, the doors were closed.
The police were alerted by the people stuck on the train. The emergency services then cordoned off the area. Negotiation specialists from the cantonal police contacted the hostage taker. For this purpose, a Farsi-speaking interpreter was hired. Snipers from the Geneva cantonal police were also on duty.
According to their own statements, the police were able to take advantage of an opportunity when the perpetrator briefly moved away from the hostages to intervene. Explosives were used to distract him. The man then charged at a police officer with the axe. According to a police statement, the officer tried to stop the man with a stun gun. When the perpetrator then ran towards the hostages, he was shot by a second police officer. According to police, the attacker died on the spot.
At around 10:15 p.m. the attack was over and the hostages were all released unharmed. The families and hostages were taken to Yverdon and cared for by members of the health service’s psychological department. More than 60 police officers were on duty, including around ten gendarmerie and public transport patrols. The emergency services were involved with 31 people. An investigation was launched with security police inspectors.