Sudanese plane hijackers surrender in Libya: Report (Roundup)

August 28th, 2008 - 3:23 am ICT by IANS  

Tripoli, Aug 28 (DPA) Two men who hijacked a Sudanese plane in Darfur and forced it to fly to Libya have surrendered to the authorities there, Libyan state television reported Wednesday.The two hijackers earlier released all 87 passengers but kept six of the crew hostage, according to the television.

The hijackers, members of a splinter group of the Sudanese Liberation Army (SLA), had demanded the Boeing 737 be refuelled and allowed to leave for Paris.

They made no immediate political demands, saying they would do this once in Paris, the television report said. The two were understood to have negotiated via the aircraft’s pilot.

The plane belonging to the private Sudanese airline Sun Express was seized Tuesday on a flight from the southern Darfur town of Nyala to the Sudanese capital Khartoum when it was diverted to al-Qafra airport in the Libyan desert.

The hijackers released the passengers Wednesday after several of them fainted from the head and a lack of oxygen in the aircraft. Egyptians, Ethiopians, and Ugandans were among those on board.

“We spent a terrible night in this aircraft,” one of the freed passengers was quoted as telling Libya’s JANA state news agency.

The hijackers said they were members of an SLA splinter group led by Abdelwahid Nur, who lives in French exile. Nur told the Arabic news channel al-Jazeera they did not belong to his group.

Rebel groups have been battling Arab militias and Sudanese government troops in Darfur since 2003. Some 200,00 people have died in the conflict.

Libyan leader Moamer Gaddafi has made several invitations to the warring parties to hold peace talks in Libya.

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