Two Charged in Portsmouth Bus Standoff; Not Last Passenger

(NECN: Lauren Collins, Portsmouth, N.H.) - Two men were arrested following a nine-hour standoff on board a Greyhound bus in Portsmouth.

The last man off the bus, whose hesitation resulted in a six-hour delay to the end of the standoff, was not one of the men charged. That man, who is from Burundi, Africa, has been released but not publicly identified by police. A passenger reported hearing on the other end of his phone conversation that a bomb was on the bus.  That caused the 911 phone call to which police responded and sprung the standoff.

Officials believe the Burundi man did not get off the bus when instructed due to language, cultural and social barriers.  His native tongue is Swahili.

"We took the time and additional resources to locate a family member and additional resources to locate a family member who spoke with this person in his native tongue of Swahili and helped to assure the man that no harm would come to him if he surrendered to the police officers outside the bus," Police Chief David Ferland said.

Where he is from, police said, people fear law enforcement -- they believe he feared he would be shot if he exited the bus.  His hesitation delayed the end of the incident by six hours.  He is in the country legally, police said.

The two men who were charged in the incident will be arraigned Friday afternoon.  John Smolens of Lewiston, Maine was charged with resisting arrest or detention. Chief Ferland said the charges stem from his refusal to follow the orders of SWAT team members and refusal to cooperate in the overnight bail process.

Calvin Segar of Brooklyn, N.Y. was charged with two counts of obstructing governmental administration for providing false names and false information, according to the police chief.

The two were scheduled to be arraigned at 1:30 Friday afternoon in Portsmouth District Court.  The incident is not considered an act of terrorism, rather a "local event."

The police chief thanked all the agencies that participated in the peaceful conclusion of the nine-hour standoff, and apologized to the local businesses and citizens who were inconvenienced by the evacuation and closure of the area.

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