Sudan hijackers free passengers but hold crew

The hijackers of a Sudanese plane that was forced to land in Libya freed all the passengers on Wednesday but still held six crew members, Libya's aviation authority said.

The airliner was seized on Tuesday after leaving Sudan's war-battered Darfur region for Khartoum and was forced to land at the remote Sahara desert oasis of Kufrah.

Libya's Civil Aviation Authority said 95 passengers had been on the Boeing 737/200, all of them Sudanese except two Egyptian police officers, two Ethiopians and one Ugandan. It said they were all freed along with two female crew members. Six crew were still being held.

"Negotiations are continuing with the hijackers in order to free the remaining crew members and for the hijackers to give themselves up," Libyan state news agency Jana quoted Mohamed Shlibek, the head of the authority, as saying.

He said the hijackers had reiterated their demand for the plane to be refuelled to fly to Paris. Sudan's Civil Aviation Authority said the two hijackers had demanded refugee status there.

"They have asked for asylum rights, refugee status. That was their first demand," said spokesman Abdel Hafiz Abdel Rahim. The identity of the hijackers was unclear.

Libya's state news agency said the pilot had told Libyan authorities they were from a branch of the Sudanese Liberation Movement (SLM), a Darfur rebel group, and wanted to meet their leader Abdel Wahed Mohammed al-Nur in Paris. But Nur's faction strongly denied the hijackers were its members.

Another SLM faction that signed a 2006 deal with Khartoum, which was rejected by Nur, said the passengers on the hijacked plane included seven of its officers, three of them members of a transitional Darfur regional government.

"We are very, very concerned and are doing all we can to contact them," said Mohammed Bashir, a senior member of the faction led by Minni Arcua Minnawi, which was the only Darfur rebel group to sign the peace deal.

Darfur has been riven by conflict since a rebellion against Khartoum's rule broke out more than five years ago. International experts say more than 2.5 million Darfuris have been driven from their homes and 200,000 people killed. Sudan puts the death toll at about 10,000. The insurgents are split into numerous factions.

The plane took off from the South Darfur capital, Nyala, bound for Khartoum. Libya granted permission for the plane to land after the pilot said it was running out of fuel, Libya's state news agency said.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Barn owls are among species that could be affected
charity appeal
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricketEoin Morgan reportedly to take over ODI captaincy
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

Recruitment Genius: Medico-Legal Assistant

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas