March 9, 2006

Armed man takes pupils hostage in French school

NANTES, France (Reuters) - An armed former teacher took 18
pupils and two adults hostage in a school in western France on
Thursday, local officials said.

Police surrounded the building as the man held the pupils,
a teacher and another adult in a classroom in the secondary
school in Sable-sur-Sarthe in western France, a spokesman for
the town authorities said.

The hostage-taker made no immediate demands. Police did not
say what weapon he was carrying but France Info radio said he
was armed with a gun.

The spokesman for the local authorities gave no details
about the man other than saying he was a former teacher at the
school. France Info said he was aged 33.

The mayor of Sable-sur-Sarthe, about 220 km (140 miles)
southwest of Paris, is Francois Fillon, a former education