CBSN

Boy, 3, Killed In Cambodia Siege

A young Cambodian girl stares in from the gates of the Siem Reap International School in Siem Reap, Cambodia, Thursday, June 16, 2005, following a standoff between police and masked gunmen. At least one child was killed in the standoff. (AP Photo/David Longstreath)
AP
Masked gunmen seized dozens of children at an international school in northwestern Cambodia on Thursday, killing a 3-year-old Canadian boy and threatening to shoot the others one by one before police rescued the hostages, authorities said.

The attackers stormed Siem Reap International School Thursday morning, taking students from several countries hostage and demanding money, weapons and a vehicle before police ended the six-hour standoff, taking four young gunmen into custody.

The attackers shot the boy when authorities refused to meet all of their demands, then "threatened to kill the other children one by one," said Information Minister Khieu Kanharith.

Authorities said they managed to talk the hostage takers out of the building after giving them a minivan and $30,000 in cash. When the men got into the vehicle with four children, security forces closed the gate to the school compound and launched an assault, yanking the men from the van.

"They tried to shoot at the police with their AK-47. Apparently, the gun jammed, and at this point, the police came, smashed the windows, and arrested the four hostage takers," Liam Cochrane, managing editor of the Phnom Penh Post, told CBS Radio News.

Nearly 40 children, some as young as 2, rushed past the school gate and into the arms of their panic-stricken parents.

"I'm very relieved," said Singaporean Tan Seok Ho, who hurried to the school when she heard about the crisis from a friend. Her youngest child Levon was among those taken and released unharmed. "I'm happy to have him back in my arms again."

The crisis unfolded at Cambodia's tourism hub of Siem Reap, near its famed Angkor temples and home to many expatriates, and quickly drew concern from governments around the region. The town has many establishments serving the international tourist trade, and children from at least 15 nations attend the school.