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Sudan plane hijacked with 87 on board

A Sudanese plane was hijacked on Tuesday shortly after take off from Nyala, the largest town in the country's war-torn Darfur region and was heading for Libya.

world Updated: Aug 27, 2008 11:51 IST

A Sudanese plane was hijacked on Tuesday shortly after take off from Nyala, the largest town in the country's war-torn Darfur region and was heading for Libya, an airline employee said.

“The plane took off from Nyala at 4:40 pm en route to Khartoum,” an employee in the domestic Sun Air company told AFP on condition of anonymity.

“After 20 minutes the pilot called Nyala airport to tell him the plane had been hijacked and that he is en route to Tripoli in Libya,” the employee said. “There are 87 passengers on board,” the official said, refusing to give his name because he was not authorised to speak to the press.

Dozens killed in refugee camp
Forces loyal to the Sudanese government have massacred dozens of people in a refugee camp in South Darfur, a rebel group claimed on Monday.

The BBC, quoting a spokesman for a faction of the Sudan Liberation Army, said that 27 people had died in the Kalma camp, where around 80,000 people live, when Sudanese troops opened fire.

However, confusion surrounds the death toll in the camp — which is near Nyala, the capital of South Darfur — with various sources giving both higher and lower figures. The joint UN-African Union peacekeeping mission (UNAMID) said it was attempting to verify the reports.

“We have our people inside the camp and they are assessing the situation,” UNAMID spokesman Noureddne Mezni told DPA.
In New York, spokeswoman Marie Okabe said the UN was “gravely concerned” about the reports of violence that “resulted in injuries and deaths of civilians” and urged restraint so that the injured could be evacuated.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said that reports had first come in of Sudanese security forces surrounding the camp and that later data pointed to heavy civilian casualties. OCHA said that it was “gravely concerned” by the attacks and called for a humanitarian corridor to be established to allow the injured to be evacuated.