India

Sydney siege: Two Indian engineers safe

Hostages run from the cafe towards police in Sydney, 15 December Image copyright AP
Image caption Engineer Vishwakant Ankit Reddy (r) was among the hostages who managed to escape

Two Indians who were taken hostage in a cafe by a gunman in Sydney, Australia, are safe, India's foreign minister Sushma Swaraj has tweeted.

Vishwakant Ankit Reddy and Pushpendu Ghosh were among the 17 hostages seized early on Monday.

Two people, including the gunman, died as commandos stormed the cafe on Tuesday morning bringing an end to the 16-hour siege.

Four people were injured, including a policeman hit by shotgun pellets.

Mr Reddy and Mr Ghosh were both undergoing medical checkups and "will be back home safe," Ms Swaraj tweeted.

Reports said both Indians were software engineers and had been working in Australia for several years.

Mr Reddy, 38, is working with Infosys, India's second-largest IT services firm, while Mr Ghosh, 35, is a manager in an Australian bank, media reports said.

Mr Reddy's wife, Shilpa Reddy, told The Indian Express newspaper that her husband "has come out of the cafe and he is fine".

"I spoke with him, he is absolutely fine. As a precautionary measure, police have taken him and others to a medical centre. Police will also debrief them and he won't be able to talk now," she said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had earlier tweeted that the Sydney incident was "disturbing and profoundly shocking".

Local media have named those who died as Lindt cafe manager Tori Johnson, 34 and lawyer Katrina Dawson, 38.

The police said 17 hostages were accounted for, including those who had managed to escape earlier.

The gunman, named as Man Haron Monis, forced some of the hostages to hold up a black Islamic banner at the window of the cafe.

Monis received political asylum in Australia in 1996 and was on bail facing a number of charges.

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