No Pinoy among Hostages in Sydney Crisis, says DFA

No Filipino was among the hostages in Monday’s crisis at a cafe in Sydney in Australia, the Department of Foreign Affairs said Tuesday.

 A report by radio dzBB’s Mao dela Cruz quoted DFA spokesman Charles Jose as saying the New South Wales police indicated there was no Filipino hostage.

 On Monday, Philippine consul general to Australia Anne Jalando-on told dzBB radio they are “hoping and praying” that no Filipino was among the hostages.

 The hostage situation lasted more than 16 hours and ended with three dead, including the suspected hostage-taker. The incident ended after heavily armed Australian police stormed the cafe to end the siege.

A man who took 17 people hostage exchanged gunfire with the police, before being killed, earlier reports quoted New South Wales Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione as saying.

 But at least two people – a 34-year-old man and a 38-year-old woman – were also killed

An Agence France-Presse report said the hostage­taker, who earlier had unfurled an Islamic flag, was named by ABC television and other media as an Iranian-born “cleric” called Man Haron Monis.

 They published a photo of him sporting a beard and a white turban and said he was on bail for a series of violent offenses, the AFP report said.

 The pre­Christmas siege of the Lindt chocolate cafe began Monday morning and triggered a massive security lockdown in Sydney’s bustling financial district as hundreds of police surrounded the site.

(Source: Joel Locsin and Agence France-Presse/RSJ, GMA News)

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