Darfur rebels hijack plane, seek to fly to France
The hijackers of a Sudanese plane with more than 100 passengers on board are apparently from a hardline Darfur rebel group and want to join the leader in Paris.world Updated: Aug 27, 2008 11:49 IST
The hijackers of a Sudanese plane with more than 100 passengers on board are apparently from a hardline Darfur rebel group and want to join the leader in Paris, Libyan officials said on Wednesday.
The Sun Air Boeing 737 was hijacked shortly after took off from Nyala, the largest city in Darfur, on Tuesday afternoon bound for the capital Khartoum, and was granted permission to land by Libyan authorities at Kufra military airport in the southeast of the country after it ran short on fuel.
The hijackers, who have refused to talk directly with Libyan officials, have said they belong to the Sudanese Liberation Army of Abdel Wahid Mohammed Nur, who lives in Paris, said the director of the airport, Khaled Saseya.
"The plane's pilot has indicated that the hijackers, who number 10 or maybe more Have said they belong to the Sudanese Liberation Army of Abdel Wahid Mohammed Nur," he told the Libyan official news agency Jana.
The pilot said "the hijackers claim to have coordinated with him (Nur) to join him in Paris," he added.
Saseya said the hijackers have demanded a flight plan to Paris and fuel, but continue to refuse to talk to Libyan officials directly.
"The hijackers refuse to free any passengers or even open the doors which have remained closed since the plane landed," he said.
With the hijacking stretching past 12 hours, several passengers have fainted after the plane's air conditioning system failed, the pilot told airport officials on Wenesday.
Sun Air executive manager Mortada Hassan has said there were 95 passengers and seven crew on board the plane.