The Kazakh police announced that an armed man had detained several people in a branch of the Caspian Bank in Astana, RT reported on Sunday.
The police, who are currently at the scene, are conducting negotiations with the gunman. They called for the public to remain calm.
Streets in the vicinity of the incident have been closed and authorities have begun evacuating residents from the building above the bank branch which was targeted in the attack.
Local social media outlets report that initial information suggests the suspect is a 30-year-old man armed with a pistol. The man is demanding that all of the bank’s assets be transferred to a fund for disabled children, the poor, and those in need.
He threatened to kill the hostages, which range between four and eight people, according to various reports.
Caspian Bank has confirmed that there are currently no customers inside the branch where the assailant has taken refuge, only employees are present.