Geneva, Dec 16 : Swiss chocolate-maker Lindt, the owner of the Sydney cafe at the centre of a day-long siege that ended in the deaths of the gunman and two of his hostages, said it was "devastated" by the outcome of the standoff.
"We are devastated by the loss of their lives and that several others were wounded and had to experience such trauma," Lindt said in a statement. Iranian-born hostage-taker Man Haron Monis, who was granted political asylum in Australia in 1996, was killed along with two of his 17 hostages when police dramatically stormed the Lindt chocolate cafe in the city's financial district to end the siege.
The deceased hostages were a 34-year-old man and 38-year-old woman. "I'm shocked and deeply saddened by the terrible incident that has taken place in Sydney," said Ernst Tanner, the chairman and group CEO of Lindt.
"But they also remind us that Australia and Australians are resilient and we are ready to respond," he said. New South Wales (NSW) Police commissioner Andrew Scipione said: "It's incredibly sad, I've got to say I don't think I could be sadder."
"Having said that, I'm completely proud of our police and what they have done to keep us safe, I've got nothing but praise for them," he said adding he wanted to see the flowers people had left as a tribute to the siege victims. "I've come to have a look at what Sydney's done," he said.
Meanwhile, flags on all Commonwealth and NSW Government buildings will be flown at half-mast today in honour of the victims of Sydney siege. According to NSW premier Mike Baird, flags will fly at half-mast today on NSW Government buildings to honour those who tragically lost their lives in the siege at Lindt cafe.
Westpac also confirmed today that four of its employees were among the 17 hostages being held at Martin Place here. All four were reportedly safe with one undergoing medical treatment for what are believed to be non-life threatening injuries. The killed gunman was identified as 50 year old Haron Monis, who arrived in Australia as a refugee from Iran in 1996.
Police fired stun grenades and shots as they stormed the Lindt Chocolate Cafe in Sydney's commercial district after 2:30 AM local time on Tuesday (9 PM IST Monday) and later declared that the siege was over. Two Indian nationals -- Vishwakant Ankit Reddy and Pushpendu Ghosh -- were among the hostages involved when Monis began his siege. However, Reddy, an Infosys employee in his mid-30s, and Ghosh, whose details were not known, escaped safely.