News Anxious hours in Kerns: Person holed up in a...

Anxious hours in Kerns: Person holed up in a farmhouse

A large-scale operation in Kerns kept the population on suspense on Thursday afternoon: According to the Obwalden cantonal police, a person had entrenched himself in a house in the Sand area. The man was only overwhelmed after several hours.

The person was entrenched in this house.

Photo: Adrian Venetz (Kerns, April 2, 2020)

(dvm / ve / pd) In the municipality of Kerns in the canton of Obwalden, the police deployed on a large scale on Thursday afternoon, as the Obwald cantonal police confirmed in the early Thursday evening that the media had reported.

One person had previously holed up in a building. Several officers were in full gear, as photos of “Blick” readers initially showed.

Police forces on the closed Aecherlistrasse in the «Sand» district of Kerns.

Police forces on the closed Aecherlistrasse in the «Sand» district of Kerns.

Photo: Adrian Venetz (Kerns, April 2, 2020)

The house concerned is the “Bergblick” property above the Kern district of “Sand”, as a visual inspection showed on site. For safety reasons, Aecherlistrasse was closed at the chapel located there. According to the police, there was no danger to the population. Apparently there were no other people in the house.

Sand area at Kerns OW

According to Marco Niederberger from the cantonal police in Obwalden, there were also emergency services from the Central Switzerland Police Concord. The police did not want to announce how many there were for tactical reasons. The fire brigade was also on site to provide support. They helped the emergency services get access to the house.

Using a turntable ladder, the fire department accessed the roof of the house via a hatch.

Using a turntable ladder, the fire department accessed the roof of the house via a hatch.

Photo: Adrian Venetz (Kerns, April 2, 2020)

There was no firearm in the house, as Marco Niederberger from the cantonal police in Obwalden said on request. For this reason, emergency services could have moved very close to the house and communicated with the man by shouting. The primary goal was to avoid injuries. According to Niederberger, the man was known to the police.

As Christoph Fries, head of the Obwaldner criminal police and the entire operation, later announced in writing, the man was a 29-year-old asylum seeker from Afghanistan. Shortly before 2 p.m. an emergency call was received that the said man was threatening his landlord and other people with a butcher knife. The police then moved out and surrounded the house. First the road was closed off and the threatened people were evacuated. The man entrenched himself on the top floor of the building.

After a siege and negotiation phase of around six hours, the asylum seeker was overpowered and arrested shortly before 8 p.m. He was injured moderately and transferred to the hospital for control. No forces were injured.

In addition to the cantonal police in Obwalden, the Luchs intervention unit and the negotiating group of the Central Swiss Police Concordat, the Sarnen base fire brigade, the Kerns municipal fire brigade, the emergency services and the civil defense of the canton of Obwalden were deployed.

The exact course of events and background are clarified by the cantonal police Obwalden and the public prosecutor’s office in Obwalden.

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