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5 Hostages Taken at Astrakhan College Freed

All hostages taken by an armed man at a college in the center of Astrakhan earlier today have been freed, news reports said Thursday evening.

The incident occurred around 2 p.m. at the Volgo-Kaspiisky fishing college, when an unknown man took two faculty members of the college and two students into an auditorium with what appeared to be a gun and warned that he was going to detonate a bomb, Gazeta.ru reported.

In negotiations with police, the man's only demand was for food and drinks — specifically pizza and Coca-Cola.

Around 5:00 p.m., it was reported that the hostages had all been freed and the hostage taker detained, along with a female who was believed by police to have been helping him.

A spokesperson for the regional police told Gazeta.ru that the object thought to be a gun earlier was in fact a replica, as was the object that the man claimed was a bomb.

The motive is still unclear. An investigation is under way.

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