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Manila SWAT blames lack of gear for botched hostage rescue

09-06-2010 08:27 BJT Special Report:HK Tourists Held Hostage in Manila |

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A panel investigating the deadly Manila bus hijacking has been told by a policeman who responded that they didn't have the right equipment or training to deal with the crisis.

Members of Manila's Special Weapons and Tactics, or SWAT, told the investigation panel that they basically didn't have the right special weapons or tactics training to deal with the bus hijacking.

The SWAT leader said their ability to conduct a rapid assault was hampered by a lack of explosive devices to break through the bus door.

It took the SWAT team more than an hour to finally enter the bus after initially trying to smash the bus' windows and door with a sledgehammer - with no success/

Alfonso Gameng, SWAT Team Leader, said, "The reason why it was difficult for us to enter the bus is because we couldn't open the door. When the first team approached it, there was something blocking it. When they tried to pry the door open, a dead body was handcuffed to it, hence they couldn't open it. And also, it was hard to break through the windows, they were very thick."

The SWAT leader said his team didn't have formal training with scenarios to deal with the crisis.

He said training in marksmanship was also lacking, and officers only improved such skills with self-practice.

Police officer Simacon said they needed shorter assault rifles to engage in close quarters combat, instead of long-barreled armalite rifles.

The SWAT team approached the bus in the dark and under heavy rain, without wearing gas masks or night-vision goggles. They said they were not even confident of the bullet-proof vests they had on, which carried an expiry date.

The Philippine Justice Secretary who's in charge of the panel has requested SWAT to submit an inventory of the equipment used, a list of training programs they have attended, and a wish list of additional gear.

SWAT officers said they practiced the raid about 6 times before receiving orders to take down the hostage-taker.

National Police Chief Jesus Verzosa has taken responsibility for the botched raid and on Sunday announced his decision to retire early.


Editor:Zhang Pengfei |Source: CNTV.CN

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