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10 to be held accountable for Philippines bus hijack

By Nairita Das

Manila, Sept.17 (ANI): At least ten civilian and police officials will be held accountable for mishandling a bus hijacking that left eight Hong Kong tourists dead here last month.

Last week, Philippines Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said police might have shot some of the hostages during their much-criticized rescue bid.

However, at a press conference on Thursday, Sky News quoted her as saying that survivor accounts showed that the victims had in fact been shot by the hostage-taker's assault rifle.

On August 23, sacked Manila policeman Rolando Mendoza seized a tourist bus in a desperate bid to get his job back and clear himself of extortion charges.

The daylong standoff ended in a bloodbath that was shown live on television channels across the world when police stormed the bus after negotiations failed and Mendoza began shooting.

Eight hostages were killed, while seven others were wounded, triggering public outrage in Hong Kong, which demanded a thorough and impartial investigation.

Ms de Lima said: "The accounts of three survivors, who were on the bus up to the end, are substantial enough. The autopsy reports of Hong Kong authorities are really much more clear and helpful."

She said an investigating panel had singled out 10 civilian and police officials and a report would be submitted to the country's President Benigno Aquino on Friday. (ANI)

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