Man held in attempting to hijack Botswana plane | india | Hindustan Times
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Man held in attempting to hijack Botswana plane

india Updated: Jan 23, 2007 09:41 IST

A man, claiming to be a member of al-Qaida, was arrested for attempting to hijack a plane during a flight from Botswana to Johannesburg, police said.

The man, whose nationality or identity was not being revealed yet, was arrested yesterday on charges of attempting to hijack the Air Botswana aircraft and unlawful interference with a plane and its crew, police spokesman Senior Superintendent Vish Naidoo said.

He said the man was overpowered and taken in for questioning shortly after the plane landed at about 6:15 pm (2145 IST) on Monday at the OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg.

"While passengers and crew were highly traumatised, there was no real threat to their safety," he said.

Naidoo said the man had surrendered after seeing the plane surrounded and asked to speak to an officer. He would not reveal more details.

Chris Hlakane, manager for the Airports Company South Africa, said the man, who was not armed, claimed to be a member of al-Qaida.

"He was unruly in the aircraft and tried to force his way into cockpit but was not successful. He claimed to be an al-Qaida member and claimed to have a list of demands," he said.

Hlakane did not know what the demands were or if the man was subdued aboard the plane.

Hlakane said safety and security personnel conducted an emergency evacuation of the plane and isolated the aircraft on the runway.