HAVANA (AFP) – A fierce gun battle broke out at Havana’s Jose Marti airport Thursday between police and three fugitive soldiers attempting to commandeer an airplane to leave the country, an airport source told AFP.
“Now everything everything is under control, but there was a fierce gunfight,” the source said, saying the men were riding a bus toward a Boeing 737 at the Terminal 1 when the shooting took place.
There was no official government confirmation of the incident or information on casualties, but an airport official who would not be identified told AFP that everything was normal at the airport.
The three men, young conscripts who fled their military unit Saturday near Managua southeast of Havana, were “neutralized” by the police, according to an airport worker.
The incident took place early Thursday when the men seized several hostages in seeking to take over an aircraft which had arrived from Santiago de Cuba at the east end of the island.
“The plane had arrived from Santiago and fortunately all the passengers had already gotten off. Only the crew were left, who then escaped through the front hatch. They were thinking the kidnappers wanted to leave the country.”
Since the weekend Havana has been abuzz with talk of the three soldiers and security was tightened on roads into the capital.
In 2003 a Russia AN-24 with 31 people aboard was taken over and forced to fly to the United States by a man armed with grenades, who was ultimately detained without incident after the plan landed in Key West, Florida.
Apparently, Havana has been “abuzz with talk of the three soldiers” since this weekend, yet not one single member of the MSM reported on this “abuzzness”, despite the world media’s attention this past week to the May Day/fidel castro appearance thing.
Update: Im told by informed sources that the three military men – from Camaguey, if Im not mistaken – had defected on Saturday with their weapons. The military began a search and when they were not able to promptly apprehend the defectors, passed out what amounts to wanted posters to the police forces throughout certain areas where the men were thought to be in hiding. Thus, these wanted posters – with photos of the men in question – are what began the rumors that this story states were circulating.
The sad reality of this, of course, is that these three men are most assuredly dead.
Update II: Cuba Encuentro has more, including the names of the defectors: Alain Forbus, 19; Yoan Torres, 21; and Leandro Cerezo, 19.