Page last updated at 12:28 GMT, Thursday, 28 August 2008 13:28 UK

Hijacked Sudanese welcomed home

A passenger is hugged by a friend or relative after a plane carrying freed passengers arrived in the Sudanese capital Khartoum
The passengers said the hijackers had guns

Crowds of people have welcomed home to Sudan the passengers and crew who were hijacked on a plane diverted to Libya.

The BBC's Amber Henshaw says there were scenes of joy at Khartoum airport as they hugged friends and relatives.

The two hijackers gave themselves up in the desert town of Kufra 24 hours after they seized the Sudanese plane, shortly after it left Nyala in Darfur.

Sudan has urged Libya to extradite two men who said they belonged to a Darfur rebel group, denied by its leadership.

A Sudanese official said the hijackers had requested asylum in Libya.

I was afraid, I didn't even think 1% I would be alive
Freed passenger

The passengers complained about their day-long ordeal.

"They were treating us really badly for 15 hours," one man told the BBC.

"We had to sit in one place and we couldn't move, we couldn't even scratch our heads, we couldn't even go to the toilet.

"I was afraid, I didn't even think 1% I would be alive. They said 'We have explosives!'" he added.

Another told about an attempt to subdue the hijackers.

"We tried to overcome them physically but the captain came out and said no don't do that. We're going to negotiate this by talking."


The desert oasis of Kufra is in a remote region approximately 1,700km (1,050 miles) south of the Libyan capital, Tripoli.

According to the director of Kufra airport, who was quoted by Libyan media, the hijackers told the pilot of the Sun Air Boeing 737 they were from the rebel Sudanese Liberation Army of Abdel Wahid Mohammed Nur.

Mr Nur, who is based in Paris, has strongly denied any involvement in the hijacking.

The hijackers were refused permission to land in Egypt and then demanded to be flown to France.

They freed all the 95 passengers and crew and surrendered to the Libyan authorities after a day-long stand-off on Wednesday.

A five-year conflict in Darfur has left about 200,000 people dead and more than two million homeless.

Sudan plane hijackers surrender
27 Aug 08 |  Africa
Country profile: Sudan
15 Jul 08 |  Country profiles

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