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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Hijack Couple Seized As 8 Hostages Freed

UFA, Ural Mountains -- A couple who hijacked a bus in central Russia on Wednesday were arrested and all eight hostages released unharmed, officials said.


The couple had demanded 10 million rubles (less than $5,000) in ransom, according to police.


The incident began at Neftekamsk, a city some 200 kilometers northwest of Ufa and 1,150 kilometers east of Moscow, said Alexei Petrenko, an Interior Ministry spokesman in Moscow.


Itar-Tass said the hostage-takers were Alexander Kazakov, 34, and Yana Podryadova, both of Neftekamsk.


Petrenko said the gunman first threatened a police officer in Neftekamsk with a sawn-off rifle and took the officer's automatic rifle. He then seized a bus carrying eight milkmaids, Petrenko said.


The gunman demanded the ransom and asked to be driven to a village in the Chelyabinsk region. Authorities delivered 2 million rubles, and four hostages were released.


When the bus stopped for refueling in Ufa, it was stormed by riot police and the gunman and his accomplice seized, Petrenko said. The man fired several shots, lightly wounding one police officer, Petrenko said.


Itar-Tass said Podryadova is an ethnic German and that the couple had earlier said they wanted to emigrate to Germany. It said Podryadova sat at the back of the bus during the hijacking "directing the operation."