Canadian boy killed in Cambodian seige; Police storm school

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Map of Cambodia

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Gunmen stormed a Cambodian school today taking kindergardeners and teachers hostage.

The men entered Siem Reap International School, a Cambodian elementary school in Siem Reap (near Angkor Wat), earlier today.

The gunmen killed one Canadian boy of an unknown age, apparently after he would not stop crying. Police began negotiating with the hostage takers after the killing.

Cambodian police raided the school after the hostages had been held for six hours. Two gunmen, along with the Canadian child, have reportedly died, while the police have detained four more suspects. The surviving hostages have now been freed.

"All of a sudden the gates opened and people came running out with children in their arms," said John McDermott, a correspondent for CNN.

Most of the children that were held hostage are the sons and daughters of hotel workers. According to a resident, the hostages were Singaporean, Korean, Japanese, Australian, Taiwanese, Irish, British, Swiss, Indonesian, Canadian, Indian, American, Italian, and Filipino.

She added, "The gunmen let one class go, but they [were] holding the kindergarten class."

The Siem Reap International School has served as a support system for the rapidly increasing number of expatriate workers attracted by Cambodia's tourist industry upsurge, one of the very few boosters of the severely impoverished nation's economy.