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Massacre at the Chilean embassy in Costa Rica - 29 July, 2004

In a strange incident, a policeman in charge of protecting the building killed three diplomats and then turned the gun on himself in a dramatic hostage crisis. President Lagos announced a two days mourning in honour of the victims.

A policeman kidnapped, shot and killed three diplomats at the Chilean embassy in Costa Rica he was in charge of protecting and then committed suicide in a dramatic hostage crisis. Security Minister Rogelio Ramos said police moved into the embassy on Tuesday night and found the bodies of the hostage-taker and his three victims, who included Chile's consul and first secretary.

According to preliminary investigations, the policeman was frustrated because he had been transferred to another job. Then, he took the decision of kidnapping 10 people –including Chilean diplomats, officials and employees- to kill three of them and himself with a bullet to the head. The other seven managed to escape by locking themselves in a room inside the embassy.

Assault units surrounded the embassy from the start of the crisis and officials used bullhorns to exhort Jimenez to give himself up, but they never managed to open negotiations for a peaceful end to the crisis. Chilean Interior Minister Jose Miguel Insulza, who is on a visit to Costa Rica, told Chile's state television station the drama inside the embassy was over long before police moved in.

 In declarations to the press, the killer’s son said he “had no explanations to give” as his father had been a “peaceful person and a model for his family and friends”.
In Santiago, Chile’s capital, President Ricardo Lagos announced two-day mourning in honour of the victims, as everybody was shocked with the news. Lagos, moved, said it was a sad day for Chile and its foreign service as the country had lost ”great, correct and young officials”.

Costa Rica has long been considered the most stable country in Central America and is a popular tourist destination. In fact, the government abolished the army in the fifties to increase the budget for education and health-care.

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