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Monday, 27 December, 1999, 17:20 GMT
Nepal appeal in hijack drama

Eight Nepalese nationals are on board the hijacked plane Eight Nepalese nationals are on board the hijacked plane


By Bhagirath Yogi in Kathmandu

Nepal has urged United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan to intervene in the Indian hijacking crisis and to negotiate the release of the 160 hostages, some of whom are Nepalese nationals.

Nepal's Foreign Minister, Ram Sharan Mahat, said his government had mobilised its diplomatic resources and established direct contact with the Taleban, for the safe release of eight Nepalese passengers who are on the hijacked plane.

He also rejected media reports which suggest the hijackers walked off a Pakistan International Airlines flight and walked on to the Indian Airlines aircraft.

Mr Mahat said it would have been impossible for the hijackers to move from one aircraft to another, because of a gap of nearly five hours between the departure of the Indian Airlines plane and the arrival of the Pakistan flight.


Kofi Annan: Urged to intervene
He said it would be premature to blame the incident on a security lapse at Kathmandu's Tribhuvan International Airport before the official investigation reaches its conclusion.

The government has ordered a five-member investigation committee, headed by a former Chief of Police, to probe into the incident.

The foreign minister also rejected accusations that one of the hijackers may be a Nepali national.

Meanwhile, the family of two Nepalese hostages on the plane have urged the hijackers to release them immediately.

In a statement, the children of Mr and Mrs J L Shrestha said their mother was a diabetic and heart patient and needed immediate medical help.

They said that their parents were on their way to Delhi for Mrs Shrestra's medical treatment when the plane was hijacked.
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See also:
27 Dec 99 |  South Asia
Negotiators arrive for hijack talks
27 Dec 99 |  South Asia
Relatives' fury over hijack 'fiasco'
27 Dec 99 |  South Asia
Indian media slams government
25 Dec 99 |  South Asia
Profile: Maulana Masood Azhar
26 Dec 99 |  South Asia
In pictures: The Indian Airlines hijack
25 Dec 99 |  South Asia
Chronology of a hijack

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