Hanoi mayor urges villagers to release police hostages

The mayor of Vietnam's capital has urged villagers engaged in a land dispute with authorities to release the remaining 20 police and officials they've been holding hostage since the weekend.

The state-run Tuoi Tre newspaper quotes Nguyen Duc Chung as telling local officials to persuade the residents to remove barricades erected around Dong Tam village on the outskirts of Hanoi.

The standoff began Saturday when police clashed with villagers who allege that their farmland was taken illegally for sale by a military-run telecoms firm. Villagers released 18 officials on Monday.

Chung had planned talks with the villagers Thursday to address their land grievances, but they could not agree on the venue of meeting. He said they would try again Friday.